DARJEELING, May 22 (IANS): Darjeeling continued to be tense today a day after Gorkha leader Madan Tamang was stabbed to death. Police complaints were filed against 11 persons, including Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung, and searches were on to nab more people in connection with the murder.
Apart from Gurung, a first information report (FIR) was also filed against GJM secretary Roshan Giri over the killing of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) president Tamang.
"Cases will be started against them soon," a police officer said.
Darjeeling district acting Superintendent of Police Gourav Sharma was leading the raids that started soon after Tamang was stabbed to death Friday near the Planters' Club here while he was making preparations for a party rally later in the day.
At least 45 people have been detained while raids are on in different parts of the three Darjeeling Hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong to nab the culprits, said Inspector General of Police (North Bengal) Kundan Lal Tamta.
"We are interrogating lot of people to zero in on the culprits and also get details of the circumstances leading to Tamang's murder," said Tamta.
Tamang, 64, who led the anti-GJM Democratic Front in the Darjeeling Hills, died of stomach and shoulder injuries after he was attacked with a khukri (long knife used by Nepalis) and swords on Laden La Road around 9.30 a.m. Friday.
ABGL general secretary Laxman Pradhan blamed the GJM for the killing. The GJM has denied its involvement and instead blamed the state administration.
Tamang's body has been kept at his house in Darjeeling town and would be taken to his ancestral house at Magma for cremation as per Buddhist rituals Monday, ABGL sources said.
The articulate and well-educated Tamang was involved in hill politics for over 40 years as a front-ranking ABGL leader. A strong advocate of a new state of Gorkhaland, to be carved out of parts of northern Bengal, Tamang had all along maintained a distinct identity of the ABGL and consistently opposed the GJM, which has been spearheading the
statehood agitation for the last couple of years.
The GJM was cut up with Tamang after he levelled corruption charges against its chief Gurung and threatened to banish him from the hills.
Securitymen guarding Governor M.K. Narayanan, now in Darjeeling, have also been put on high alert in view of the killing and the resultant tension.
Panic was palpable in Darjeeling town with only a handful of shops and markets opening Saturday and very few people seen on the roads. In Kurseong sub-division, most of the shops and markets were closed for the second consecutive day.
However, the situation was better in Kalimpong - where the ABGL does not have much of a base.
"Majority of the shops are open and vehicles are plying normally," said Additional Superintendent of Police J. Dorji.
Vehicles were plying normally on National Highway 55, which connects the district's plains of Siliguri with Darjeeling.
Traffic was also heavy on National Highway 31A, connecting Kalimpong with neighbouring Sikkim. "The CRPF have been deployed there," said Dorji.