Emotional press conference of the last king of Nepal

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Kathmandu, Jun 11 (UNI) Former King Gyanendra today tried to defend his take-over and refuted the allegations of his involvement in the massacre of nine royals including his brother and all family members at a royal dinner party on June 1, 2001.

Before leaving today for Nagarjuna Palace provided by the government, he said, ''I had to take over the kingship in a very difficult situation when most of the royal members had lost their lives in palace massacre.'' He also expressed worry that his family had been hauled over the coal in the 2001 palace massacre case and refuted allegations about acquiring disproportionate amount of property after becoming the king.

The massacre was not investigated and a report prepared by a committee of Supreme Court Justice and speaker said that the murder was carried out by then crown prince Dipendra.

There were sloganeering against former King Gyanendra and his son Paras alleging their involvement in the massacre. Gyanendra said, ''I was saddened by the murder and had to take the responsibility in a difficult circumstance.'' At the 13-minute emotional press conference held at Kaski Baithak, the main chamber of the palace, the ex-King said he had accepted the May 28 declaration to cooperate for ''peace, progress and independence'' of the country.

He made it clear that he had no intention to leave the country, and refuted rumours of siphoning off his property to foreign countries.

''Whatever property I own is in Nepal. I hope my right to keep property will be protected,'' he said, informing that he had handed over the crown and scepter to the government.

It was reported in the local media that he had property in the foreign country. He is the richest man of Nepal.

The government has decided to provide him accomodation at the Nagarjuna Palace with 75 security personnel including 25 Nepal army soldiers. Gyanendra had demanded 400 special security forces deployed for his security at the palace.

Before that there were over 2000 soldiers for his security.

He claimed that as a ruler he had no other motive than to establish peace, strengthen democracy and work for the betterment of the citizens, but conceded his failure.

''I admitted that those efforts for peace could not be successful.

What happened thereafter is all too known,'' he said.

Reading out an emotionally-charged statement, Shah said he didn't have a proper channel to express his grievances and that he had to remain silent even as his family was being 'insulted'.

Gyanendra thanked Nepal government for the help it has extended to him and hoped for continuation of the help.

The former King entered the packed conference hall with a smiling face and delivered the written message in an emphatic tone.

He refused to answer the questions asked by the mediapersons after the press conference.

He said that crown and the sceptre were handed over to the government. The government has allowed to stay his step mother Ratna and his great step mother (concubine) to stay inside two buildings of the palace.

UNI XC RJ HT2205

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