KOLKATA: Dhankumari Ghising, wife of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) chairman Subash Ghising, was cremated in the plains of Siliguri on Sunday, though it was the wish of the family that the last rites take place in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling, where Mr. Ghising’s political supremacy was undisputed for over two decades, has now become virtually out of bounds for him.
Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists put up roadblocks on the road leading to Darjeeling on Saturday, forcing the vehicle carrying Dhankumari Ghising’s body to return to Siliguri. Mr. Ghising was not in the convoy.
For several months now, the GJM has been demanding the creation of Gorkhaland, comprising the Darjeeling hills and certain contiguous areas.
“The move to take the body to Darjeeling was politically motivated, with the intention of drawing public sympathy,” the GJM leadership said. “We respect the dead, but not allowing the body into Darjeeling was a reflection of public sentiment,” Benoy Tamang, GJM spokesman, told The Hindu over telephone from Darjeeling.
“There is not a single GNLF leader left in the hills now. Between 60 and 70 of those wh
o continue to belong to that party are in and around Siliguri, having been socially boycotted by the hill people who are still bitter about the exploitation they suffered during the 21 years when Mr Ghising was at the helm of affairs. It was the people who prevented the body from being brought up the hills on Saturday,” Mr. Tamang said.
Does the GJM leadership endorse the stopping of the vehicle carrying the body from going to Darjeeling? “The move pre-empted further humiliation to the family,” Mr. Tamang said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, during a visit to Phansidewa near Siliguri, described the incident as “unfortunate.”
The district leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) described the incident as inhuman and uncivil. (Hindu)