Kalimpong, Oct. 5: The people of this picturesque hill station bid a solemn farewell to dissident GNLF leader C.K. Pradhan, whose last rites were conducted at the Melli burning ghat on the Teesta’s banks this afternoon.
Pradhan, an executive councillor in the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and a friend-turned-foe of DGHC chief Subash Ghising, was assassinated on Tuesday afternoon.
People lined the entire route of the funeral procession, which began from Mission Compound — where Pradhan’s house is located — and crept along the Main Road to the cremation ground. The young and old, men and women, carrying flowers and khadas, the piece of white cloth the Nepalese confer as a mark of respect, had poured in despite the 72-hour bandh from as far as Gorubathan, Pedong, Delo, Bambasti — a tribute to CK’s popularity.
Though the police had given permission for a 150-vehicle entourage, the number swelled to over 300 in the late afternoon.
Almost all the DGHC councillors were present at the funeral — on instructions from Ghising — with senior GNLF leaders and Kurseong MLA Shanta Chhetri. It was almost 3 when Pradhan’s mortal remains were consigned to the flames amid chants of “Long live CK Pradhan” and the “guilty must be brought to book”.
GNLF Kalimpong unit president Dawa Pakhrin has assured there would be no 24-hour bandh on Monday in view of the Hindu festive season beginning from Tuesday. The statement laid to rest worries of tourists headed for the hills.