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Last rites of Kalikho Pul today

Arunachal Students Union, Shillong holding a candle light march in memory of former Arunachal Chief Minister Kalikho Pul, in Shillong on Wednesday. – UB Photos
 ITANAGAR, Aug 10 - The mortal remains of former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul were today flown to his home town Hawai in easternmost district of Anjaw, bordering China, for the last rites.

Pul on Tuesday allegedly committed suicide less than a month after the Supreme Court unseated him and reinstated his bete noire Nabam Tuki to State’s power. He was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his private room at the Chief Minister’s official residence, which he was yet to vacate as his own quarter was being renovated.

The SkyOne helicopter carrying the lifeless body of Pul and his family members took off from Raj Bhavan helipad here at 7.30 am for Anjaw via Pasighat amid tearful adieu by his supporters and well-wishers.

Among those gathered at the helipad and paid their last respects to late Pul were senior BJP leader and former Arunachal Chief Minister Gegong Apang, former Deputy Chief Minister Kameng Dolo, Lok Sabha MP Ninong Ering, AICC secretary Dr K Jayakumar, senior leader from neighbouring Assam Bhupen Kumar Borah and few BJP MLAs.

Earlier, the casket carrying Pul’s body wrapped in the tri-colour was brought to Raj Bhavan helipad in a truck beautifully decorated with flowers. At the CM’s bungalow, Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with his Cabinet colleagues and few MLAs paid tributes to late Pul.

As a mark of respect to the departed leader, the State Government yesterday declared a three-day State mourning and a holiday on Thursday.

His last rites would be performed tomorrow with full State honours at his native village, Walla in Hawai Circle under Hayuliang constituency he had represented in the State Assembly.

Pul’s mysterious death had triggered violent protests by his die-hard fans and supporters after the news of his bereavement spread like wildfire.

His supporters assembled outside the CM’s bungalow and protested demanding a fair probe into his death by the Central Bureau of Investigation and also vandalised nearby residences of Dy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and Industries Minister Tapang Taloh.

The protesters also burnt down the plywood coffin brought for Pul stating that it was “not worthy of a popular CM like Pul”.

After the intervention of his family, Pul’s body was taken to the Tomo Riba State Hospital at Naharlagun for conducting post-mortem. After that, his body was brought back and kept at the CM’s bungalow facilitating the general public to pay their last respects to their beloved leader.

Reportedly, Pul had left a diary called “My Thoughts” which is nearly 60 pages long which was taken by police for examination. Other evidences and the diary were sealed by police and would be opened in front of the appointed magistrate.

Besides the police inquiry, the State Government has ordered to set up a magisterial inquiry to investigate the death, CM Khandu had told reporters.

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