Thousands of teary-eyed Nepalis bid their final adieu to Bishnu Lal Maharjan, popularly known as Nepal's 'living martyr', on Sunday as his mortal remains were consigned to flames.
The 42-year old who sustained spinal injuries in April 2006 during Jana Aandolan-II (People's Movement-II), the mass uprising that forced former king Gyanendra Shah to reinstate the parliament, had breathed his last on Saturday.
"Bishnu's sacrifice should spur the government and other parties to end the present political deadlock and work speedily towards drafting the new constitution and establishing peace," local newspapers quoted Maharjan's elder brother Krishna Lal Maharjan as saying.
Maharjan, a Communist Party of Nepal (UML) member, who had been bed ridden since getting injured in police firing, had become an iconic symbol of the mass movement to remove the king and bring back democracy to Nepal.
This was evident as thousands reached the open-air theatre on Sunday where his body was kept, to pay their last respects.
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal who wrapped the national flag on the martyr was one of them.
Speaking on the occasion, Nepal expressed the hope the Maharjan's death would act as catalyst in building a consensus among all parties to formulate the country's new constitution within the stipulated time.
Chairman of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Chairman of the Constituent Assembly Subhash Nembang also paid their respects to Maharjan's soul. The martyr's last rites were performed later in the day at Bishnudevi Ghat as per Newari rites.
Maharjan was hospitalized on Tuesday night at Kathmandu Model Hospital following a seizure at his Satungal home. He went into coma on Friday before succumbing to septicemia.
With his death, Maharjan become the 25th victim of police action against demonstrators of Jana Aandolan II, the pro-democracy movement also known as the April Uprising.
As soon as news of his death spread hundreds of Kathmandu residents rushed to the hospital to have a last look at Maharjan. Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had visited the hospital just two hours before Maharjan's death.
The government which had earlier declared Maharjan as a living martyr and bore all his medical expenses has decided to accord him the status of a martyr and provide his wife and three children with due benefits.