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Poster game after death in MLA family

Darjeeling, Feb. 26: A poster signed by “Gorkhaland loving people” appeared in town this morning, announcing that loyalists of the separate state movement would not attend the funeral of the Kurseong MLA’s husband who died last night.

Deo Chandra Karki, 53, had been ailing for sometime and breathed his last at the Kurseong subdivisional hospital.

The poster that appears to have been put up at 6am reads: “Yesterday, Deo Chandra Karki, husband of anti-Gorkhaland MLA from Kurseong, Shanta Chhetri, died. We, the Gorkhaland loving people, will not attend the funeral.” It was signed by “Gorkhaland loving people”.

After fingers were pointed at the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha which had chased away most of the GNLF leaders from the hills, including Chhetri, Gurung’s party put up a counter-poster at 9am, “protesting” the one plastered by people “trying to derail our Gandhian movement”.

“We protest the poster plastered by Gorkhaland loving people. These are people who are merely trying to derail the Gandhian movement,” the poster put up by the Morcha’s Kurseong sub-divisional committee read.

Chhetri’s house had been torched and the Kurseong police station attacked on February 18. Chhetri had blamed the Morcha without naming Bimal Gurung’s party. The Morcha had denied the allegations.

After the arson, Chhetri had spent the night at the hospital along with her son and daughter-in-law, before moving in to a relative’s house. “The last rites could not even take place at my house. They torched my house. I have lost everything now,” a sobbing Chhetri said over the phone. The body was taken to Gauri Shankar tea garden below Giddepahar, about 8km from Kurseong, which is Karki's native place. By 2pm, when the funeral took place, about a thousand people had visited Chhetri family to express their condolence.

Karki, an employee with the Public Health Engineering department, was also an All India Radio-approved singer and a tabla player.

On August 18, 2008, GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh could not bring his wife’s body to the hills for cremation after she died at a private nursing home in Siliguri. Even then fingers had been pointed at the Morcha. The party had denied the allegations and had said it was the “public” who did not allow Ghisingh to come to the hills.

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