Gangtok: Nine people have been arrested by the police for burning an effigy of former Indian football team captain Baichung Bhutia at Namchi in South Sikkim district, violating the rules of the lockdown implemented in the state. A senior official gave this information on Monday.
The South Sikkim Senior Superintendent of Police Thakur Thapa said, “Yesterday evening we arrested nine people from Namchi and released them on bail as the case was registered under bailable sections.” “We are looking for some more people involved in the incident and they will be arrested soon,” he said.
Last month, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang had laid the foundation stone of this hospital to be built at a cost of Rs 500 crore. The protesting women raised slogans of ‘Bhaichung Bhutia Murdabad’ and burnt his effigy when Bhutia opposed the construction of the hospital. Bhutia hails from South Sikkim and has currently gone to do commentary in the Euro Football Championship.
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Thakur said that it is being told that the accused are members of the South Sikkim Nari Sangh and they protested last week in defying the rules of Covid-19 lockdown. The protesters, all women, were protesting Bhutia’s stand on the construction of a 300-bed hospital to be built in Namchi.
Condemning the burning of his effigy, he released a video message in which he said, “Protesting against me and burning the effigy is in violation of the Disaster Management Act 2005, which prohibits the gathering of people.” Bhutia (44) clarified that he never opposed the construction of the hospital and said that the state government should focus on containing the pandemic now and build the hospital later.
“If Rs 10 crore was used from the sanctioned fund and you gave Rs 20,000, almost 500 taxi drivers would have been covered and their families would be the beneficiaries. The same number of farmers would also benefit,” Bhutia said.