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Manipur landslides: Last rites of 14 soldiers from north Bengal held with full state honours

In the afternoon, a memorial service was held on the Mall in Darjeeling where BGPM leaders Roshan Giri and Keshab Raj Pokhrel and Bimal Gurung's wife Asha Gurung among others paid tributes to the jawans. A minute's silence is observed and candles were lit.

Manipur landslides: Last rites of 14 soldiers from north Bengal held with full state honoursThe total death toll in the landslide at a railway construction camp has reached 29, while nearly 35 people are still missing. (File)

The funeral rites of 14 Territorial Army (TA) soldiers from north Bengal, who were killed in a landslide in Manipur’s Noney district four days before, were conducted on Saturday full full state honours after their bodies were brought to the Darjeeling Hills and surrounding areas.

The total death toll in the landslide at a railway construction camp has reached 29, while nearly 35 people are still missing.

Earlier in the day, a pall of gloom descended in the Darjeeling, Karshiang, Rohini and Mirik areas after the soldiers’ bodies arrived in coffins.

In the morning, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) founder Bimal Gurung visited the house of a soldier, Marcus Gurung, a resident of Singmari in Darjeeling. Marcus visited his home last in February and was learnt to have talked to his wife on mobile phone last Wednesday. He was supposed to come home in October.

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Anit Thapa, president of the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) that won the recently held Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) elections, has already announced to suspend the Vijay Utsav programme.

In the afternoon, a memorial service was held on the Mall in Darjeeling where BGPM leaders Roshan Giri and Keshab Raj Pokhrel and Bimal Gurung’s wife Asha Gurung among others paid tributes to the jawans. A minute’s silence is observed and candles were lit.

Roshan Giri and Keshab Raj Pokhrel said, “It is a very painful incident. I wish them peace.”

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Punam Chhetri, wife of another victim Shankar Chhetri, who hailed from Nagrakata in the Dooars in Jalpaiguri district, said she last spoke to her husband around 9pm on Wednesday.

“A neighbour told me about the tragedy. I repeatedly called up his immediate boss.They confirmed on Friday afternoon that he was no more,” Punam said. Shankar was recently transferred to Manipur from Darjeeling.

First published on: 03-07-2022 at 04:21 IST
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