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Civic off for Gurung father funeral

- Last rites to be held at Morcha chief’s Darjeeling home today

Darjeeling, Sept. 25: The Darjeeling municipality has decided to keep the civic body offices shut tomorrow “as everybody would be attending the funeral” of Bimal Gurung’s father Bharat Gurung.

Bharat Gurung, 79, was admitted to a private hospital in Gurgoan earlier this month and he died of multi-organ failure yesterday evening. His body was flown to Bagdogra this afternoon and brought to Darjeeling in the evening.

Hundreds of people lined up along the Siliguri-Mirik-Darjeeling route to pay obeisance today.

The funeral is scheduled to be held at Patlabas, Gurung’s home, at 1pm.

Amar Singh Rai, the chairman of Darjeeling municipality, said: “Today we held a condolence meeting at the municipality and as everybody would attend the funeral tomorrow, we have decided to close down the municipality office.”

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has not said if its offices would be closed.

Anti-Morcha parties in the hills have sent their condolences to the Gurungs.

Ramesh Chhetri, a senior CPM leader in Darjeeling, said: “We express our condolences to Bimal Gurung on the demise of his father Bharat Gurung. May the Lord provide the entire Gurung family the strength and the courage to bear this irretrievable loss.” ABGL leader Laxman Pradhan said: “On humanitarian grounds, we express our condolences on this sad occasion. We do not want to comment on the closure of the municipality on grounds of humanity.”

Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh has also sent a condolence message to Bimal Gurung.

Pathpasala Sangh, an association of traders, has plastered posters at Chowk Bazar requesting businessmen to keep their establishments shut tomorrow to allow people to attend the funeral.