Gorkhaland stir: Fianceé heard bomb explosion that killed civic police volunteer

Rakesh Rauth, who was working as a civic police volunteer for three years, was killed in a blast inside the Kalimpong police station.

kolkata Updated: Aug 21, 2017 23:43 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times, Siliguri
Gorkhaland,Kalimpong,Kalimpong police station
Rakesh Rauth was killed in a blast inside Kalimpong police station.

Dipa Rauth (26) was sharing marriage plans with her fiancé on Saturday night when the blast inside Kalimpong police station changed her life and apparently the course of the ongoing Gorkhaland movement.

Sitting in her residence in the 8th Mile area of Kalimpong, Dipa heard a loud explosion at the other end and her fiancé stopped talking. Dipa shouted his name and shrieked in panic. What she did not know was that a bomb had claimed the life of 31-year-old Rakesh Rauth.

The civic police volunteer became the first man in uniform to die in the Darjeeling hills ever since the unrest began.

Dipa and Rakesh got engaged on April 2, 2016. They were supposed to tie the knot in December this year.

Every night they used to call each other up and mostly talk about the wedding. Saturday was no exception.

When hundreds of people gathered Rakesh Rauth’s home in Kalimpong on Monday afternoon Dipa was staring blankly.

“I was talking to Rakesh when I heard a loud noise. He suddenly went silent. I kept screaming but he did not respond although the connection was still active,” said Dipa.

“We never discussed death and never imagined that such a tragedy would hit us,” said Dipa as tears rolled down her face.

Rakesh was given a guard of honour at Kalimpong police station on Monday before his body was taken for funeral.

Rakesh was working as a civic police volunteer for three years. He is survived by his parents and three brothers.

The bereaved family has demanded a permanent state government job for one member of the family.

Though Gorkhaland supporters have torched police stations, guest houses, government offices and stations of the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the bomb attack on a police station was a first ever since violence broke out on June 8 over the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Police have brought charges against Bimal Gurung, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president and four other senior GJM leaders under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for the Kalimpong police station blast.

State police claimed that GJM leaders have connection with militant outfits from the North East.

GJM leaders denied the allegations and demanded probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The allegation itself is part of the conspiracy to demean the democratic and peaceful movement, said Gurung.

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 23:42 IST