ANALYSIS OF THE MADAN TAMANG MURDER INVESTIGATION – (REPLAY) – ONE MONTH AGO: Murder of Tamang in Darjeeling: Who planned it? Needle of suspicion points to ruling party – and now the convenient transfer and promotion of the ‘suspected’ key conspirator KL Tamta, very convenient indeed for the ruling party – timing the murder just before the need for finalization of the “Territory Issue” by Bengal, the main hidden agenda ?!!
By Asim Kumar Mitra
Monday, 07 June 2010 12:58: Now the whole Darjeeling politics has taken a completely new but complicated turn. Both CPI (M) and GJM of Bimal Gurung have started a blame game.
MADAN TAMANG was hacked to death on May 21, 2010, at the Upper Club side in Darjeeling Town. Tamang was a revered Gorkha leader of Darjeeling. He was president of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) which was established long back in 1943 and it was obvious in its selection of name that this party was not a separatist party.
Till today this party is fighting for the democratic rights of Hill people. At the same time, they want to maintain their identity without dissociating themselves from the mainland.
Why should a leader of his stature be killed for propagating such a lofty ideology?
But it happened in the open daylight on a crowded roadside in front of so many people.
Curiously, it was noted in a newspaper reporting that when the killers were approaching the spot with open swords, daggers, khukris, bhojalis etc in their hands, the security guards, who were posted there, disappeared or it can be said that they were vanished in no time. This is really mysterious.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri, spokesperson of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM, headed by Bimal Gurung) had alleged that “The state government’s hand in the murder is clear. There were security lapses at the venue. It was the duty of the government to ensure the security. Now that Tamang is no more, they are indulging in politics over his death”.
Chhetri further alleged that the CPI (M) with the help of the state government has heightened its political activity in the Hills. “They are trying to send the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) supporters and leaders (presently camping in Siliguri) back to Hills to create disturbances. They (CPM) themselves are trying to regain a foothold here by using the Democratic Front”.
In fact for the last three years the CPI(M) had been banished from the Hills. The last time the CPI(M) suffered a big political setback was in November 2007 when the party was forced to change the venue of its Darjeeling district conference from Darjeeling to Siliguri after a massive protest against the proposed Sixth Schedule status for the Hills.
Since then, the CPI(M) was unable to organise any programme in Hills and the number of its members from the Hills reduced drastically. CPI(M) leaders from the plains never visited the Hills with only one exception. That was during the Parliamentary election in 2009 when state Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya visited Darjeeling for filing the Nomination Paper of their candidate Jibesh Sarkar.
This alienation from the Hill politics had a frustrating effect on the party workers. They were in search of an opportunity through which they could enter into the Hills. Hence there is every possibility of CPI(M)’s involvement in the conspiracy of killing a gentleman-politician like Madan Tamang.
In this connection, one should not lose one’s attention of two/three development which were very significant. Those developments were:
(1) After the brutal killing of Madan Tamang, CPI(M) did not spare a moment to declare that GJM was responsible for this murder.
(2) They (CPM) had instigated the supporters of ABGL to attack the houses of GJM leaders and prominent supporters. In this process the house of BJP leader Dawa Sherpa was also set on fire.
(3) The state government run by the CPI(M)-led Left Front had immediately declared that the state CID would enquire into the matter. People have no faith in the role of state CID as time and again it has been proved that they have ceased to work independently. So the counter demand has been put forward by the supporters of Madan Tamang that instead of CID, CBI should enquire into the matter.
(4) All these were done by them (CPM) to give an impression that these were spontaneous reactions of the people. Spontaneity was, of course, there but the CPI(M) wanted to use the situation to their advantage but it seems that it would not be possible at this stage.
This was reminiscent of one incident that took place in Kolkata in late seventies when state minister Hemanta Kumar Basu of Left Front government was brutally killed on the street of Kolkata in open day light.
Hemantababu was a leader of Forward Bloc but he was revered by all. That was the time when Naxalites had created complex problems for the CPI(M). Their activities were doubted by the general mass because of continuous propaganda against them by the Naxalites.
In this connection, it should be kept in mind that till date it was not pronounced by any court of law or no authoritative source had held that the CPI(M) was responsible for this murder. But for all practical purposes people know it for sure that ‘what was what’. This is the procedure of its operation. Therefore, one is very much provoked to find out the similarities between the two incidents.
Now the whole Darjeeling politics has taken a completely new but complicated turn. Both CPI (M) and GJM of Bimal Gurung have started a blame game.
Primarily, the supporters of GJM were so much convinced about its involvement in the murder of Madan Tamang that at least 11 of the top ranking leaders of GJM had submitted their resignation.
But immediately after the death of Madan Tamang when Bimal Gurung entered Darjeeling, he and his colleagues had started saying that it was a handiwork of CPI(M) who wanted their foothold in Darjeeling and for that reason they had committed this crime (killed Tamang) and squarely held GJM responsible for this heinous act.
The present situation is that the CPI(M) has come all out to regain their position in the Hill area and to ensure their safe entry in the Hills they are taking help of Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF).
The State Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya, who hails from North Bengal, had number of meetings with the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to decide their Darjeeling strategy.
Now they are convinced that they would definitely make a breakthrough. On the other hand, GJM had decided on a new strategy. In a public meeting on Sunday ( May 30, 2010) Bimal Gurung had declared that they were in favour of establishing “Gorkha-Adivasi State”.
This is a new strategy of GJM to woo the tribal people of Terai and Dooars where Gorkha population is in microscopic minority. The leaders of Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABVP) had instantly rejected this proposal of GJM.
Birsa Tirkee, President of ABVP said, “This has been a motivated act of Bimal Gurung to confuse the tribal people about their political goal. We would rather accept the status under 6th Schedule of the Constitution. We have no desire to establish a separate state dividing West Bengal”. In fact ABVP has already chalked out a programme of agitation for this.
In this case, a third voice is also coming to the fore and this voice is a sane voice of Bharati Tamang, wife of Madan who had taken over the post of ABGL’s presidentship. She had alerted their members and sympathisers to distance themselves from the enemies of democracy. She said, “I want to restore peace and democracy for which I need people’s support”. The Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM) was also there by the side of Bharati and its General Secretary R B Rai said, “We will not let his (Tamang’s) sacrifice go in vain. We will not accept a separate state without democracy”.
GNLF (Gorkha National Liberation Front) leader Dawa Pakhrin also did not lag behind in utilising the situation to give a tilt towards them. Pakhrin said, “The hand that killed Tamang also burnt down my house. An evil force has taken over the Hills. We need to unite and fight against it”.
Under these circumstances the Hill politics is going to take an altogether new shape.
(The writer was a member of Press Council of India 1998-2001)