Former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul allegedly committed suicide at his official residence today, weeks after he was ordered by the Supreme Court to step down after a brief stint, sparking violent protests by his supporters.
The body of 41-year-old Pul, which was hanging from the ceiling fan of his bedroom, was first spotted by one of his three wives this morning. Pul, a Congress rebel, was yet to vacate the official residence.
Pul, who is survived by three wives and four children, had not met any outsider for the past seven days, his family claimed. The untimely demise of Pul, who had served as the chief minister from Feburary 19 till July 13 this year, shocked many and the state government announced a magisterial inquiry into the death. Chief Minister Pema Khandu told reporters that the inquiry was ordered to investigate whether there was any "foulplay".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of Pul, saying his services to the state will be remembered. The state government after a cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, declared a three-day state mourning and decided to accord a state funeral to the deceased. As news of the death of Pul, a Congress rebel, spread,scores of his supporters and well-wishers gheraoed Chief Minister Pema Khandu's bungalow in the Niti Bihar area and demanded a probe into the 'unnatural' death.
They told the media that they would not allow Pul's body to be taken out from his bungalow at E S S sector and insisted that he be cremated inside the premises. The coffin, which was brought from outside, was damaged and set on fire by the crowd before the assembled media.
A section of the mob headed towards the official residence of Deputy CM Chowna Mein, less than 100 metres away, damaged the outer wall and at least 10 vehicles parked in the premises.
Kalikho Pul, who rebelled against chief minister Nabam Tuki in late 2015 along with a large section of party legislators, was sworn in as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh with the support of 18 dissident Congress MLAs, two independents and 11 BJP legislators. The BJP legislators gave him outside support in the 60-member Assembly.
Pul's appointment was preceded by days of turmoil which saw Nabam Tuki dismissed after 21 of the 47 Congress MLAs including Pul-rebelled against him. This was followed by President's Rule imposed on January 26. The Supreme Court last month had ruled the appointmentas illegal and reinstated the Congress government.