Gangtok: On December 14, when Kala Chhetri, a sanitation attendant at the STNM Hospital here was attacked by a knife-wielding Thinlay Bhutia, cardiologist Dr Sanjay Upreti bravely intervened. Dr Upreti was stabbed grievously in reaction before the hospital staff could disarm the culprit. While Chhetri’s condition stabilised, Dr Upreti’s worsened. He fought for ten days, before breathing his last early morning on December 24.
The news of his death, already being covered by local media houses since the stabbing incident, sent shockwaves across the hill state. According to EastMojo, people began referring to Dr Upreti as a “hero” and a “martyr” with many hailing the cardiologist for his bravery.
Governor Ganga Prasad expressed his anguish at his demise. He wrote, “In his professional career, Dr Sanjay served everyone. His death is a big loss to the medical fraternity of Sikkim. He will be remembered for his contribution to the Sikkimese people. My sincere condolences to the bereaved family, friends of Dr Upreti who will be deeply missed by all. And pray for the departed soul. Om Shanti!”
Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay shared on social media, “I am deeply saddened by the untimely demise of Dr Sanjay Upreti, who was undergoing treatment at Neotia Hospital, Siliguri. Sikkim has lost a remarkable human being and a brilliant doctor, and in this hour of grief, I extend my sincere condolences to the bereaved family, friends and pray for the departed soul.”
Citizens of Sikkim took to social media to express their sorrow. Niren Bhandari said, “Salute to the Martyr Dr Sanjay Upreti who lost his life in the line of duty towards humanity. Feel devastated that we can’t guarantee the security of our human resources,” and demanded that the state should take care of his family. Another user, Komal Chamling shared how Dr Upreti had been extremely helpful to her aunt who was being treated for cancer. While Pramit Chhetri mourned how a doctor “who had saved many lives” had left them.
The accused Thinlay Bhutia has informed the police that Kala Chettri is his girlfriend, and he attacked her as she was not picking his phone calls. Bhutia had plans to kill his brother-in-law as well over a financial feud, as reported by NDTV.
Dr Upreti had received a stab wound in his groin region while saving Kala Chhetri from Bhutia. The wound turned gangrenous. The doctors amputated his leg, but were unable to save him.
The good Samaritan cardiologist was given his final farewell with full state honours on Christmas day. The funeral took place today in Mamring, Sikkim, where the CM along with his cabinet of ministers, was also present. The funeral was attended by a large number of doctors, health workers, health department officials, well-wishers, and family members.
Former ministers from the Sikkim Democratic Front, legislators and spokespersons from the current Sikkim Bharatiya Janata Party, and many more leaders from regional parties were in attendance, East Mojo reported.