The historic Roy Villa in Darjeeling where sister Nivedita breathed her last was ransacked by miscreants, amidst turmoil in the Hills. The room where sister Nivedita used to stay and passed away was also ransacked, apart from other parts of the building.
The heritage building, which houses Ramkrishna Mission Nivedita Educational and Cultural Centre is located at Lebong Cart Road and was a favourite haunt for historians and tourists alike.
“We were at Siliguri. In the morning we got calls of some of our disciples who visited the house. They informed that some miscreants had broke open and ransacked the house,” said Swami Nityasatyananda, secretary, houses Ramkrishna Mission Nivedita Educational and Cultural Centre.
“We were also informed that the Thakur Ghar (Shrine) and the personal room, hall of Sister Nivedita where she passed away was ransacked too. Rare pictures in frames were thrown on the floor. The donation box has also been broken. We have immediately informed the police and are on our way to Darjeeling. We never expected this to happen,” said Swami Nityasatyananda.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has condemned the incident. “This must be the work of miscreants. We in GJM do not believe in such wrong acts. We strongly condemn the incident,” said Roshan Giri, GJM general secretary.
In 2013, when the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (semi autonomous body in the Hills) was formed the Bengal government and Bimal Gurung worked out a swap of Roy Villa and Tenzing Norgay Youth hostel. The upkeep of Roy Villa was handed over to the government, while that of the youth hostel was given to GTA. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee and GTA chief Bimal Gurung both visited Roy Villa.
According to the GTA agreement, Roy Villa was with the GTA and they had plans to set up a youth hostel here. On the government’s request, GTA agreed to hand it over, while the Tenzing Norgay youth hostel was handed over to the GTA where they can carry out their project.
Later the Villa was revamped and restored under the aegis of Ramkrishna Mission.
Roy Villa, a four storied building with basement situated at Lebong Cart Road, Darjeeling, West Bengal holds a special significance in India’s rich cultural tradition. In this heritage house, Sister Nivedita, the great disciple of Swami Vivekananda died on 13 October 1911.
The house is around 115 years old.
Sister Nivedita first came to Darjeeling in 1903 with botanist Jagdish Chandra Bose and his wife Abala Basu, who had rented the property from Dawarka Nath Roy, a resident of Calcutta.
When the Morcha started its agitation in 2007, several members of the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) used to camp on the Roy Villa premises.