Gangtok: Indian football icon and politician Bhaichung Bhutia‘s effigy was burned in the heart of Namchi at Central Park Square in South Sikkim. A video circulating on social media shows a few women in groups during the effigy burning with the former Indian football captain’s photo in it. The effigy was kicked around with calls of ‘Bhaichung Bhutia Murdabad.’

The women were later identified to be members of Dakshin Sikkim Nari Sangh (South Sikkim Women Wing).

The protest comes days after Bhaichung Bhutia opposed the construction of a 300-bed hospital in Namchi, South Sikkim. Bhutia claimed that the construction of the new hospital would compromise the famous ‘veterinary ground’, considered the only playground in Namchi.

On June 5, Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay had laid the foundation stone for the 300-bed hospital.

Also read: Sikkim: No hospital at the cost of playground, says Bhaichung Bhutia

The Hamro Sikkim Party‘s working president had slammed the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha government for their “misplaced priority” during the pandemic. While suggesting that the hospital could be shifted to a different location in South Sikkim, preferably Karfectar near Jorethang, which he highlighted would be in closer proximity to both South and West Sikkim districts.

The same was opposed by the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party, who on June 8 claimed, “the hospital construction would not stop at a cost.” They also questioned Bhutia over why he never opposed the upcoming Bhaichung Stadium, also in Namchi.

South District Magistrate Bharani Kumar told EastMojo, “We are taking appropriate action as per law. There was no arrest made, but we identified them to belong to a group called Dakshin Sikkim Nari Sangh. We came to know after the incident and police personnel were deployed at the scene. This is a violation of the lockdown period, and appropriate action will be taken. Beat cops were there at Central Park, and they dispersed the crowd. Names of the individual have not been ascertained yet, police will carry out an inquiry. Once we get the report, we will initiate legal action against them. We have asked for a report from the Station House Officer in Namchi if they belonged to any politically affiliated group.”

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