Kalimpong shops down shutters with the death of Municipal Councillor in custody
Bimal Gurung, President of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha called for a bandh of the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts over the death of GJM leader and Kalimpong Municipal Councillor Barun Bhujel in jail custody in the wee hours of Wednesday.
Bhujel, the Municipal Councillor of Ward 16 of the Kalimpong Municipality (East main road area) had been arrested on June 15 for allegedly torching the Sericulture unit and Hill Top Tourist Lodge along with GJM leader Binod Pradhan from Kalimpong town.
"Though Barun was a political prisoner he was not treated as one. There were lapses in treatment including delay" claimed Biren Bhujen, the brother of the deceased.
While Bhujel's family members alleged of delay in treatment, Gurung alleged of police torture leading to death.
"He was suffering from chronic liver complications including pancreatitis. He was brought to SSKM Hospital in a critical state and was admitted at the ICU. Post mortem is being conducted" stated Manimoy Bandopadhyay, Superintendent, SSKM Hospital, Kolkata.
Gurung in audio message from an undisclosed location sent in the later part of the morning, stated that Bhujel had died for Gorkhaland and fighting the "black law of Bengal."
"Gorkhas should come out in the streets in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik, Terai and Dooars to protest against the death. Let us live for a short while but let us live with bravery. As the President of GJM I ask Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts to shut down in protest" stated Gurung.
Incidentally Gurung is on the run with a Look-out notice and arrest warrant in his name. He has been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Though life remained normal in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik and the plains, shops downed shutters in Kalimpong town from 9:30am. A condolence meeting and prayer meeting was organized at Dambar Chowk, Kalimpong where residents offered "Khada" (traditional scarves) on Bhujel's photograph.
"The shops have been closed as a mark of respect to the Municipal Councillor and not for any political reason" stated a resident.
Bhujel's dead body is expected to arrive by Thursday. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.