By Vidhyapati Mishra
As the Narayanhiti royal palace massacre enters its 10th year today (June 1), the mystery over the midnight carnage that eliminated the entire family of the then king Birendra Shah remains still shrouded in mystery. The chilling massacre has gradually faded into memory.

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For Rohit Kumar Bhandari, who guards the former royal place, now the Narayanhiti Palace Museum, the royal massacre of June 1, 2001 is distant in his memory.

“I have never thought that the Birendra’s family members were gunned down in this date 10 years ago,” Bhandari said.

He doubted that even officials inside the former palace, which opened as a public museum nine months after the abolition of monarchy from February 2009, were unaware of June 1 that has changed the country’s history.

The findings of the high-level committee that investigated the royal massacre had revealed that the then crown prince Dipendra gunned down his father king Birendra, mother Aishworya, brother Nirajan, sister Shruti, and five other royal relatives during a dinner party inside the palace before fatally shooting himself.

According to ex-army General Bharat Keshar Singh, Dipendra was offered a real gun on his eighth birthday and was competent in handling guns like a trained army man.

Many people find the official findings on the royal bloodbath not quite convincing, still hoping to know the truth behind it.

Dipendra gunned down his family members and the royal guests as he was not happy with his mother’s decision to restrict him from marrying his long-time girlfriend Devyani, according to the official findings.

“We heard that Dipendra’s received a bullet from the back on his head. So, how can he shoot himself in the back?” questioned R.K Bhusal of Chitwan, who appeared wary of the official report that said the enraged crown prince opened fire under the influence of drug and alcohol.

Bhusal was working in Dubai when he heard the news of the royal massacre.

He traveled to Kathmandu from Chitwan this morning to see the Narayanhiti Palace Museum, but was sad to return after knowing that the Museum remained closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Even after a decade, people want the truth of the royal massacre. They desire that the republican government should conduct a fair and thorough probe.

“We want to know the whole truth. However, it seems no state authority is interested to conduct a thorough investigation into the royal bloodbath,” said human rights activist Charan Prasai.

According to Prasai, much of the details of the tragedy remain mere hearsay for lack of convincing truth for all these years.

Indian national Amal Ghosh, who was taking picture of the Museum, also claimed that the story of royal massacre is somewhat like a folk tale for Indians.

“I wanted to see the palace museum since it is here that the Hindu king and his family were murdered 10 years ago,” said Ghosh.

Birendra, who agreed to turn the absolute monarchy into constitutional monarchy in the wake of a popular uprising, is considered a liberal monarch. In his coronation speech, the former king Birendra had declared that he would begin a new era by creating a just and democratic Nepal.

Many people are convinced that his successor Gyanendra Shah’s ambition to become an absolute monarch ultimately turned the country into a republic.