Bhaichung Bhutia’s effigy burned in individual capacity, not under any banner: SKM
File image of former Indian footballer Bhaichung Bhutia’s effigy being burned in Sikkim

Gangtok: The ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) in Sikkim has clarified that the recent burning of the effigy of Indian football icon and politician Bhaichung Bhutia in the heart of Namchi in South Sikkim was done by people in their individual capacity and not under any banner.

Earlier, it was widely circulated that the burning of the effigy with the former Indian football captain’s photo in it was carried out by SKM supporters in Namchi under a non-registered organisation Dakshin Sikkim Nari Sangh (South Sikkim Women Wing).

Addressing the media on Wednesday, party spokesperson Jacob Khaling said that chief minister Prem Singh Golay read out the police report on the incident in the Assembly during the day.

“The police report is out and the CM himself read it out in the Assembly. We accept that there were some members of SKM involved in the incdent. There were some supporters from the Sikkim Democratic Front as well as from the Hamro Sikkim Party, active or inactive. It was not done under any party banner, it was in their individual capacity,” Khaling said, adding that the party does not support any such incident and hopes that it is not repeated in the future.

“If we see in the global political scenario, it is always the effigy of those in power that is burned by those in opposition. For 10 years, we were in the opposition, a strong one, but we never opted for burning of effigies of anyone in the government as the opposition party,” Khaling said.

“Now that we are in power, so why would we want to burn someone’s effigy, when we never burned an effigy as an opposition party earlier?” Khaling questioned.

Also read: Sikkim to get 2 new private universities, revive another

Meanwhile, slamming Bhutia’s stand that ‘hospitals should not be made at this time’, the SKM leader questioned back: “Currently, hospitals are the place where we need to invest government funds. The COVID-19 pandemic may go on for some years. What we need for the future is hospitals. Where will we take our people for treatment?”

Lack of beds has resulted in COVID care centres being set up at Paljor Stadium and Saramsa Garden, besides some schools, Khaling said.

“The hospital in Namchi was built in 1975. The population was meagre then and the equipment are now redundant. Now we need beds where we can treat our patients,” added Khaling.

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