Former Sikkim Speaker KN Rai Assaulted; Opposition Blames Ruling Party, Calls for Presidential Rule

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On Friday, March 2, 2024, KN Rai, a former Speaker and two-term minister affiliated with the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), became the victim of a physical assault in Majhi Gaon, Melli, South Sikkim. The attack, which occurred around 2:30 pm, targeted Rai, who is also the senior vice president of the SDF, along with SDF spokesperson Dr. Shiva Kr Sharma (Timshina).

At the age of 63, KN Rai, already battling a long-term health ailment, was left bloodied and traumatized by the assault. His condition reportedly deteriorated due to the severity of the attack. Following the incident, Rai was swiftly transported to Neotia Hospital in Siliguri for critical care, and later airlifted to Delhi for further treatment via air ambulance.

The SDF promptly held the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) Party responsible for the assault. The opposition party’s allegations intensified as they expressed dissatisfaction with the arrests made in connection with the incident. Seven individuals from Melli Bazaar, namely Laxman Rai, Awan Tamang, Jiten Rai, David Rai, Saroj Thapa, Karan Tamang, and Joel Rai, were apprehended and booked under non-bailable warrants.

The severity of the situation prompted Chief Minister PS Golay, BJP President DR Thapa, Jacob Khaling, and Ganesh Rai to condemn the attack. Their discontent was expressed through social media platforms. In a united stance against violence, citizens staged a protest in front of Melli Police Station on the same day as the incident.

The incident was also addressed in The Sikkim Legislative Assembly today. Speaker Arun Upreti initiated the discussion, with key figures such as BJP State President DR Thapa, MLA Farwanti Tamang, and Chief Minister PS Golay addressing the assembly. DR Thapa urged leaders to speak cautiously on public platforms, emphasizing that speeches should be for the betterment of society, and questioned the security of common citizens if even a former Speaker remains vulnerable. MLA Farwanti Tamang demanded the swift arrest of all assailants and stringent actions to prevent any recurrence of such incidents.

Chief Minister PS Golay condemned the assault, assuring that immediate measures were taken to apprehend the culprits. He also expressed vigilance over KN Rai’s health and emphasized the personal bond he shares with the senior politician.

A series of press conferences followed, reflecting the heightened tensions in the state. The SDF party, dissatisfied with the arrests, called for presidential rule amid escalating violence and squarely blamed SKM for orchestrating a pre-planned attack. Additionally, SDF members filed an FIR against Jacob Khaling Rai, the Political Secretary of Chief Minister Golay, based on his social media statement regarding the brutal attack on KN Rai.

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