Kasra Naji: Nepal curfew could be extended
CNN Correspondent Kasra Naji has been following developments in Kathmandu, Nepal, surrounding the shooting deaths on Friday of several members of the nation's royal family, including the king and queen.
Military sources at the palace told The Associated Press that 29-year-old Crown Prince Dipendra Bir Bikram turned against his family and attacked them because his mother did not approve of his choice of bride. On Sunday the palace changed its story to say that the killings were due to an "accident."
On Monday, anger over the government's handling of the tragedy resulted in violent street demonstrations, prompting authorities to impose an overnight curfew.
Q: How is the curfew going?
NAJI: From what we understand, the curfew is going well although we have unconfirmed reports that one person has been shot dead after the curfew had begun. But that, as I said, remains unconfirmed. We have not been able to confirm that, but that is the report we are getting.
Q: What are the terms of the curfew and how long will it be in effect?
NAJI: Curfew was announced about 3:30 in the afternoon and went into effect a half an hour later at 4 o'clock. It is going to last until 5 a.m. in the morning. The order of the curfew was signed by an official of the government -- the district administrator -- and the announcement urged people to stay indoors and warned those people who might choose not to respect the curfew the police have orders to shoot, should they decide not to obey the curfew.
Q: Will the curfew continue every night indefinitely?
NAJI: We don't know. That hasn't been made clear. We think the authorities are waiting to see what happens tomorrow and whether they need to repeat this.
Q: Is there any sign that the official story about the circumstances surrounding the royal deaths will change again?
NAJI: The government is separate from the palace. The government has been weakened for several months now; in fact, it was on its last legs when this latest crisis happened. During this latest crisis its performance has been pretty dismal, and many people are disappointed and angry that the government has done little to inform them of what has happened. And there have been calls in the streets for the government to resign.
As far as the palace is concerned, the palace, which gave its version on Sunday saying that the whole thing was the result of an accident -- an accidental firing of an automatic weapon at a family gathering. But again that version was given by the new king, who today in his radio and television announcement, announced a commission of inquiry. Interestingly enough he didn't mention anything about the accident being responsible for the massacre.
Q: Has there been any sign of public dissent in the media? Broadcast, Internet or print?
NAJI: Not that I know of, but I just heard something -- and that has not been confirmed either. I have been told that three non-Nepalese television stations -- all of them Indian television stations -- have been ordered to stop working. They are Star TV, V-TV and E-TV. All of them are based in New Delhi. Star, of course, is the Rupert Murdoch outfit which is catering to Asia. Star TV has an Indian outlet in New Delhi which broadcasts in both Hindi and in English round-the-clock. It's a news channel and they have been told to leave along with two others.
This is Nepal. People are usually very suspicious of India generally. Anything that goes wrong, a lot of people will suspect Indian hands are behind it and that India is responsible for it. And there is this general attitude about India and anything Indian. I guess they wanted to curb the media here and they started with those three stations because those are the three whose ouster would be most acceptable to the Nepalese people at large.
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