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The BBC's Matt Frei
"People are hungry for information"
 real 56k

The BBC's Jill McGivering
"Shock is starting to give way to a growing sense of confusion"
 real 56k

The BBC's Daniel Lak in Kathmandu
"Things are still tense"
 real 56k

Ronald Nash, the British Ambassador in Nepal
"There is... a serene and sad air,... the sense of shock is still there"
 real 56k

Sunday, 3 June, 2001, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Confusion reigns in Nepal
Cremation ceremony on the banks of the Bagmati river in Kathmandu
Security is expected to be tight during the mourning period
Two days after the dinner table massacre of most of the Nepalese royal family, the authorities in Kathmandu have produced no proper explanation of who was responsible.

I just do not believe whoever blamed our prince Dipendra for killing his parents and other royal members. He can do anything but not this

E-mail sent by Samasti from Nepal
A palace official, speaking to the BBC, denied press reports that the new king of Nepal, Dipendra, had shot dead most of his own family and turned his gun on himself after an argument about his choice of bride.

The official said the death of the late King Birendra, his wife Queen Aishwarya and at least four other close relatives had been the result of an accident.

The BBC's Daniel Lak, in Kathmandu, says many analysts and members of the middle class elite still feel that early reports of the new king's involvement in the killings could be true.

Official statement

An official statement released on Sunday said only that King Birendra and the others died when an automatic weapon was suddenly discharged inside the royal palace in Kathmandu.

A man gets his head shaven, except for a small tuft on the top of the crown, a Hindu gesture of mourning for a loved one or respected figure
Many Nepalese find it hard to believe what has happened
There was no reference to who was holding the weapon when it went off.

It said the new king and former Crown Prince Dipendra had been gravely wounded.

He is now in hospital in a coma with a bullet wound to his head, but has nonetheless been named king in keeping with Nepal's constitution.

Prince Gyanendra, his uncle, has been appointed regent.

Grief and disbelief

Grief and anger over the killings spilled out into the streets on Sunday.

Mourners had spent the day in largely peaceful expressions of grief, but about 50 young men burned newspapers in the main shopping district and chanted slogans against the press for daring to suggest that the new king might be guilty of murder.

Flowers at the palace gate in Kathmandu
There have been largely peaceful expressions of grief
BBC News Online has received many e-mails expressing grief and disbelief.

"I just do not believe whoever blamed our prince Dipendra for killing his parents and other royal members. He can do anything but not this," said one from Nepal.

The BBC's Daniel Lak, in Kathmandu, says the authorities are in a constitutional bind.

If they confirm that the new King was the man behind the massacre, he says, the constitutional implications for both the monarchy and the country are dire.

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See also:

03 Jun 01 | South Asia
Nepal left guessing on royal killings
02 Jun 01 | South Asia
Nepal royal assassin named king
02 Jun 01 | South Asia
Nepal mourns slain king
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