MADAN TAMANG MURDER INVESTIGATION: Tamang escape puts Bengal Govt in dock

MADAN TAMANG MURDER INVESTIGATION: Tamang escape puts Bengal Govt in dock – the greater political significance, murder or escape coverup ?!!

Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee - now caught in a web of his own party's making ?!! (Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya)

From The Pioneer
By Saugar Sengupta

Kolkata, Monday, August 23, 2010: The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Government on Sunday faced a major embarrassment when Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leader and prime accused in the Madan Tamang murder case escaped from what was considered tight police custody, early on Sunday morning.

He fled from a toilet in Pintail Village – a guest house of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council near Siliguri, some 600 km from Kolkata where he had been brought by the CID for interrogation.

Two police personnel – a sub-inspector and a constable – guarding him, have been suspended. Senior police officials have not ruled out foul play and connivance of some personnel in the escape.

Sunday’s incident not only comes as a shock for the Left Front Government but has also given an opportunity for trouble to resurface in the now subdued Hill region.

CID spokesperson on Bengal TV stating time as 11.30 pm, Saturday night - conflicting with the CID IG's statement earlier of 6 am on Sunday morning ?!! (Himal News)

The GJM, that had been low-key after Nicole’s arrest, took the opportunity to call an indefinite bandh, demanding immediate production of the accused. They have even alleged that the administration could eliminate him as he could speak some inconvenient truths about the role of the powers-that-be in the killing.

A “surprised” Darjeeling SP DP Singh later pleaded ignorance about Tamang being held back for the night at the bungalow. “He should have ideally gone back to police custody notwithstanding the fact that he was being interrogated by the CBI (*?!!) for the day,” Singh said, adding, “I am surprised by the incident and have informed the SSP.”

An alert had been issued on the Indo-Nepal border and a probe ordered into the incident, IG Law and Order R Purakayastha said from Kolkata.

The police arrested Nicole Tamang on August 18 (misreported – not August 16 ?!!) on charges of murdering All India Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang.

The AIGL chief, who had emerged as a major challenger to the GJM, was murdered in broad daylight on May 21 at a Darjeeling market place where he was supervising the preparation for a rally.

Nicole was reportedly seen by the eyewitnesses attacking the victim with a khukri. (true lies or preposterous ?!!)

The accused was absconding after the murder and was arrested from Kijaley village near Bijon Bari police station in Darjeeling and remanded in police custody for 14 days.

One of the prime accused in Tamang’s murder escapes – a most conveniently unbelievable story ?!!

Nicol Tamang brought into Darjeeling Court on 16th August 2010 - strange escape or murdered in custody ?!! (Photo by Himal News Special Correspondent)

From The Hindu Special correspondent

KOLKATA, August 22, 2010: Arrested by the police six days ago, Nikol Tamang, one of the prime accused in the murder of prominent political leader Madan Tamang, escaped from the custody of the State’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Pintail village near Siliguri in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district early on Sunday.

The incident has precipitated a fresh spell of political uncertainty in the Darjeeling hills with the leadership of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), to which Nikol Tamang belonged, calling an indefinite bandh in the three hill subdivisions from the afternoon, alleging that he had been killed in custody.

The agitation that began at 1 p.m. will be intensified unless the authorities can provide proof to the contrary within 12 hours, Benoy Tamang, assistant general secretary, GJM told The Hindu over telephone.

Tamang killing accused flees CID custody – most difficult to digest ?!!

Nicole Tamang brought to court again for remand into CID custody from Judicial custody on August 18, 2010 - questioned in the 3rd degree & now no more ?!! (TT)

From The Times of India
By Caesar Mandal & Pinak Priya Bhattacharya

KOLKATA/SILIGURI, Aug 23, 2010, 04.54am IST (TNN): The state police have let Nicole Tamang the only prime suspect arrested in the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang slip through their fingers three days before they planned to file the chargesheet.

Exactly a week after his arrest, Nicole escaped from CID custody in Pintail village near Siliguri on Sunday morning.

Left red-faced, police hurriedly suspended a sub-inspector and a constable. But the police’s version of how Nicole fled raises more questions.

CID claims Nicole a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha central committee member and trusted aide of Bimal Gurung fled when he was taken out to relieve himself. He was being interrogated in a duplex building in the model tourist village, where every floor has an attached toilet. So, why was he taken to a toilet in the rear of the building? And why was only one constable escorting him?

This had an immediate impact on the turbulent Hill politics, with ABGL calling a 24-hour shutdown on Tuesday and GJM an indefinite bandh from 6 pm (1 pm actually ?!!) on Sunday.

The district police refused to take responsibility for the escape as Nicole was in CID custody. “We’re awaiting a complaint from CID,” said IG North Bengal Ranveer Kumar.

Nicole was arrested from his native village Kaijaley in Darjeeling, close to Sikkim, in the wee hours of August 16, just a day before the tripartite meeting in Delhi.

He had been on the run ever since his cellphone was found at the Tamang murder site on May 21. CID investigators believe he was the key man behind Tamang’s murder and his interrogation could help track down the other suspects. Now, they are back to square one.

Nicole was in CID custody since August 18. Sources said he used to be locked up in Pradhan Nagar police station at night, and taken to the CID camp office (duplex 31) in Pintail tourist village for interrogation during the day. The district police provided transit security.

During interrogation on Saturday, Nicole apparently agreed to show investigators some hideouts of his aides who had played an active part in Tamang’s murder. CID officers took him along on several raids but drew a blank. Suspecting they had been taken for a ride, they brought him back to Pintail for all-night interrogation, say sources.

Around 6 am, Nicole sought permission to go to the toilet. A CID constable reportedly took him to a toilet in the rear of the building although there was one on the same floor. While being marched down from the second floor, Nicole wrestled himself free and jumped through an unbarred window on the staircase landing, say CID sources. They admit that the constable was not alert.

Nicole easily scaled the complex’s five-foot-high wall and disappeared into Udham Singh Nagar, a huge slum and Morcha stronghold. The Nepal border is just an hour away.

“It’s a very crowded slum. Even if Nicole is there, it will be hard to find him,” said a senior Darjeeling police officer. Police believe Nicole has sneaked into Nepal, where he had hid for nearly three months after the murder.

After fleeing CID custody, Nicole Tamang disappeared into Udham Singh Nagar, a GJM stronghold. “The area is still a GJM domain and it would be easy for him to arrange a vehicle,” said a police officer.

A section of political experts in the Hills and neighbouring areas is unwilling to buy CID’s “security lapse” theory. “Every duplex has attached toilets on each floor. There was no need to take him out. And every duplex has a single entry and exit point. If, as CID says, there were armed guards at the gate, how did Nicole flee?” asked an ABGL leader, accusing the state of having a “shady role” in the incident.

Other political experts, however, do not believe the ABGL theory because Nicole’s escape will only bring more trouble for the state government.

N Parvez, a senior SP of CID, has been assigned to investigate the incident.

“After prima facie probe, we have suspended a sub-inspector and a constable for negligence,” said IG CID (I) P Nirajnayan. Ranveer Kumar said all local police stations and SSB officers had been alerted. Nicole’s photograph has been circulated and police have started checking vehicles, said Kumar.

Hill murder suspect vanishes – Nickole missing from CID-held cottage – escaped or murdered in custody due to interrogation torture, the mystery continues ?!!

The House that Nicole was held in - impossible fencing and walls ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU

Siliguri, Aug. 22: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader accused of masterminding Madan Tamang’s murder disappeared from custody this morning, bringing to light a string of lapses on the CID’s part.

The CID is yet to explain why Nickole Tamang had been kept in a guesthouse just outside Siliguri town last night instead of the designated police lock-up, or why its sleuths had sent their police escorts back at 9pm.

Nickole, 42, Morcha central committee member and “old friend” of the outfit’s chief Bimal Gurung, was arrested in Darjeeling on August 15 for the daylight killing of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League chief in the hill town on May 21.

Pintail village where Nicole was held - luxury bungalows for Bengal's DGHC elite with no shortage of security whatsoever ?!! (Darpan)

The CID said he went missing at 7am from Pintail Village, a complex of 40 cottages protected by high walls that the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council uses as guesthouses.

D.P. Singh, chief of Darjeeling police who are backing up the CID probe into Madan Tamang’s murder, said Nickole was in the custody of a five-member CID team. “Around 7.30am, I was informed that he had escaped,” Singh said.

He said Nickole “might head for the hills or board a train or bus” and that the police and the Sashastra Seema Bal were watching highways, railway stations, the bus terminus and the Nepal and Bhutan borders.

The Morcha called an indefinite strike in Darjeeling district from 1pm today and said the hills “could be on fire” if the police failed to produce Nickole within 12 hours. It said it feared that an ailing Nickole may have “collapsed or died” of torture and that the police were hiding this.

CID inspector-general P. Nirajnayan was mum on why his sleuths had taken Nickole to Pintail Village and why they had broken the rules to spend the night there with the captive. The team, led by inspector Ardhendu Shekhar Pahari, had brought the accused to Siliguri on Thursday after a Darjeeling court granted the CID 12 days’ custody.

“Over the past three days, they took him to several places for investigation but brought him back to Pradhannagar police station to spend the night in the lock-up,” the Darjeeling police chief said.

“But yesterday, the team did not act according to rules and kept Nickole with them at Pintail Village. I had no clue… I learnt only this morning that he had been kept there.”

Nirajnayan said two CID men, sub-inspector Aniruddha Chatterjee and constable Arabinda Kumbhakar, had been suspended for dereliction of duty. He did not explain why the other three were spared, merely saying: “They (the suspended duo) were supposed to keep a watch on him.”

The police expressed surprise that someone could escape from the fortified Pintail Village, situated off NH55. “The whole compound is surrounded by an 8 to 10-foot-high boundary wall with spikes. Each cottage too has high walls,” an officer said.

“The Indian Reserve Battalion guards the sole entry point round-the-clock. Another 75-80 IRB men are billeted in the compound; they would have accosted any stranger.”

BL Meena's office in Pintail village - a 'city within a city' kept for Bengal VVIP's ?!! (TT)

The hill council’s administrator, B.L. Meena, lives and works in one of the cottages, and the IRB occupies several. Some 20-25 of the cottages are now vacant. (good use of DGHC funds ?!!)

The CID team had taken the hill council’s permission to spend Saturday night in cottage No. 29, sources said.

Earlier, Morcha leaders often stayed in the compound and Nickole would have known the layout well. (true lies, yet again ?!!)

Intelligence officials said the police began the search for Nickole only around noon, and that too without pictures of the accused, who is hardly a high-profile figure. (doesn’t quite add up, or a sadly botched cover up ?!!)

Security protocols flouted, lapses in Nickole search too – it all adds up ?!!

Heaviest security at Darjeeling court at the time of Nicole's arrest on August 16, 2010 - and now the sudden lapse, unbelievably strange ?!! (DT)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU

Siliguri, Aug. 22: The CID team that had Nickole Tamang in its custody apparently ignored several protocols followed by policemen travelling with an accused, leading to his disappearance.

One of the breached protocols was that an escort team given to the CID by the district police to guard Tamang was sent back when he was retained at Pintail Village overnight — another security rule that was flouted.

“After the court granted police remand, the CID team brought Tamang to Siliguri on Thursday to interrogate him. Over the past three days, they had taken him to several places, including Pintail Village, for investigation but brought him back to Pradhannagar police station where he used to stay in the lock-up at night. Last night, the team did not act according to rules,” Devendra Prakash Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling, said today.

“The team kept Nickole with them at Pintail Village. I had no clue that he had been kept there and came to know about it only this morning when the message of his escape reached me,” he said.

According to senior officers, an accused in police custody has to be kept at night in the lock-up of the police station where the investigators are based. “During the day, they can take him out and move to places necessary for investigations,” a senior officer said.

The Darjeeling district police chief also said the CID team had no additional force posted at Pintail where Nickole was being kept overnight. Singh said the district police had formed a five-member team of a sub-inspector and four constables to escort Tamang if he was moved around.

“Yesterday, the escort team was sent back to Pradhannagar police station,” Singh said. Sources said around 9pm, the escorts were reportedly asked by the CID to leave Pintail and come back at 9am today. However, Singh said he was not ready to comment on the CID action. “Whatever has been done in this case (Madan Tamang murder case) was done in a combined manner and naturally, the issue of the escape, too, has to be taken up in a combined manner,” he said.

Even after the escape, neither the CID nor the intelligence officers searched the vicinity of Pintail Village.

Pintail village outer boundary wall - impossible to scale ?!! (Kundan Yolmo)

It was around 11.15am, more than four hours after Nickole was reported missing, that Singh, along with Siliguri additional superintendent of police Gaurav Sharma, visited Pintail.

Singh and his team inspected the area outside the boundary wall, particularly the site behind bungalow 29, where Nickole had been kept for the night. Police teams fanned out in the neighbourhood around noon, only to draw a blank.

“Policemen were standing on highways, braving the rain to search cars. Men in mufti were at New Jalpaiguri station and also at Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminus, but none of them carried any picture of Nickole, who is not a well-known or a top leader of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha so that he can be easily recognised. Only a handful of policemen, most of them posted in Darjeeling, can identify him without a picture,” an intelligence officer said.

Two cops suspended for fiasco – and the rest of the team not at all responsible, even after flouting the rules ?!!

Police begin running after the infamous Madan Tamang murder - no suspension then ?!! (Himal News Special Correspondent)

From The Statesman

SILIGURI, 22 AUG, 2010 (SNS): Nicol Tamang, the prime accused in the All India Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang’s murder, managed to escape from the Criminal Investigation Department’s custody at Pintail village near Siliguri this morning. He remains untraced till the evening, though the CID and the police have embarked on an all-out search for the accused. Two police personnel who had charge of the accused have been suspended.

Nicol was brought to Pintail Village, a DGHC guesthouse, where CID had set up a temporary camp, from the safe custody of the Pradhan Nagar police station last night for interrogation.

And providing a queer twist to the escape-drama, the Darjeeling district superintendent of police, Mr D P Singh has confessed that he had been kept in the dark regarding the arrangement for shifting the accused.

Mr Tamang, a GJMM central committee member, was remanded in CID custody on 18 August. He was arrested on 15 August from the Pool Bazar area in this West Bengal hill town for the 21 May murder of Madan Tamang (file photo).

Sharp differences have come to the fore with the district police and the CID officials giving contradictory versions regarding the escape-sequence. While the IG, CID Mr P Nirajnarayan claimed that Mr Tamang had managed to escape around 7 a.m, the Darjeeling SP, Mr DP Singh told reporters that he had escaped much earlier.

However, it has been learnt form the police sources that Mr Tamang had escaped from the CID dragnet around 4.30 a.m. under the pretext of using toilet.

The Darjeeling police superintendent, meanwhile, has said that he had no knowledge that the prime accused had been shifted from the police station custody to a CID camp at Pintail Village last night.

Mr Nirajnarayan said: “Two police personnel – Mr Aniruddha Chatterjee (assistant sub inspector) and Mr Arbinda Kumbakar (constable) were suspended as per the preliminary investigation report on charge of dereliction of duty.”

“The special SP, CID, Mr N Parvez, had already started the probe into the case. We would recapture him soon,” he asserted.

The Darjeeling SP said that an all-out attempt to re-arrest Tamang was underway. “We are keeping vigilance along the areas bordering Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan,” he said.  “If we fail to intercept him by tomorrow we would alert other police stations across the state and other states too,” Mr Singh said.

MEANWHILE: THE NATURAL &  INTENDED  BENGAL’s  POLITICAL & MEDIA FALLOUT ?!!

Drama label on ‘escape’ – believable like a Hindi movie masala fiction ?!!

Jawans stand guard at the entrance to Pintail Village on Sunday - impossible barricades ?!! (Kundan Yolmo)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU

Aug. 22: The ABGL today expressed “shock” over the nature in which a prime accused in a sensitive case could “walk out of the CID camp”.

Dawa Sherpa, working president of the ABGL and also a former IPS officer, said: “We are shocked at the state of affairs. We do not rule out the possibility of a well-orchestrated drama (to free Nickole Tamang). How could have he walked out of the CID camp, when he was supposed to be in a special custody? This defies all logic.”

The ABGL has also called a general strike across the hills on August 24. “We want him to be re-arrested as immediately as possible,” said Sherpa over the phone from Delhi.

The CPRM said the unfolding drama had given indications that there could be some “understanding between the Bengal government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha”.

“Nickole was arrested a day before the tripartite talks in Delhi. He was, however, not taken into police custody immediately. But when there was a public resentment, the CID sought his custody,” said D.S. Bomzom, a spokesperson for the CPRM.

“Again, after the Morcha indirectly hinted at leaving out the Dooars and the Terai from the interim set-up for the hills during a meeting in Darjeeling yesterday, we get to know that Nickole has escaped. There is enough scope for us to suspect that there is some understanding between the Bengal government and the Morcha,” he added.

Asok Bhattacharya - balding ideas, dismissive at best ?!!

Bengal urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya dismissed the Morcha’s charge that the police had liquidated Nickole Tamang.

“It is a baseless allegation. The Morcha is trying to create a propaganda in the hills to project Nickole, a suspected murderer, as an honourable man,” he said in Siliguri today.

He demanded a probe into Nickole’s escape and sought action on the policemen. “It is a shame that a prime accused in the Madan Tamang murder case could escape while being in police remand. We want an inquiry and action against the men found guilty,” said the minister.

Shanta Chhetri, the GNLF MLA from Kurseong, said she would raise the issue in the Assembly and demand action against the CID officers.

Morcha sees cell torture in disappearance – ‘Custody death’ & plot theories do rounds – more feasible than not ?!!

Tripartite Talks in Delhi - reason enough to derail all successful and peaceful talks ?!! (Darpan)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI

Darjeeling, Aug. 22: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has alleged that police are trying to hide that an ailing Nickole Tamang died in custody.

Nickole, a diabetic with kidney problems, was unable to bear the grilling and the torture at the CID interrogation camp, the party said.

The Morcha has called an indefinite strike across Darjeeling district from 1pm today, demanding that the police should produce Nickole “alive within 12 hours”. National Highway 31A and tea and cinchona plantations have been kept out of the purview of the strike.

The police said Nickole fled from the CID interrogation centre — a DGHC guest house at Pintail Village near Siliguri — early this morning.

The Morcha has refused to buy the police story.

Bengal's objectives met after Madan Tamang's Assassination - now interrogation too severe on Nicole Tamang ?!! (Himal News)

Party spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri said: “Nickole Tamang was a diabetic, suffering from high blood sugar and kidney problems. We fear that Nickole’s body could not take the torture and he must have collapsed or even died. The police are probably trying to hide the fact.” On August 18, defence lawyer Taranga Pandit had told the court hearing the CID plea for police remand that Nickole was a diabetic and should be treated well.

Demanding that Nickole be produced alive, Chhetri said: “We have called an indefinite strike and if he is not produced within 12 hours, the hills could be on fire.” Traffic will be allowed till 6pm, the party said.

The Morcha claimed that it was virtually “impossible” for Nickole to escape from Pintail Village. “We were told that he was being guarded by 70 police personnel. How can an accused in such a sensitive case flee from a heavily fortified place? Had he been in Darjeeling, he probably could have fled but it is impossible for a hill person having little knowledge of the plains to hoodwink the police. In custody, an accused does not carry money or have access to facilities for communication,” said Chhetri.

However, Nickole was no stranger to the layout of Pintail Village, as claimed by his party members. He often stayed at the complex frequented by the Morcha leadership. (any proof of statement ?!!)

The hill outfit said it believed that Nickole was innocent. “That is why we did not protest his arrest. We wanted the law to take its own course,” said Morcha vice-president Pradip Pradhan.

“An accused sent to police custody has to be at a police station. What was he doing at the CID camp? The state government orchestrated the entire show to put our movement into reverse gear,” said Morcha assistant secretary Binay Tamang.

Tension in the Hills – just what Bengal wants ?!!

GJM demonstration at Darjeeling Sadar Thana - produce Nicole Tamang as before within 12 hours ?!! (Darpan)

From The Statesman

DARJEELING, 22 AUG, 2010 (SNS): Tension gripped the Hills today as reports of Nicol Tamang’s sensational escape from CID custody reached here. Nicol the prime accused in the Madan Tamang assassination case was in CID custody since 18 August and was kept at a CID camp at Pintail Village near Siliguri for interrogation.

The AIGL has threatened an indefinite Hill shutdown in case the prime accused in its president’s murder case is not recaptured in the next twenty-four hours. The Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha too called an indefinite bandh in the tension-struck Hills from noon today, accusing the police of having murdered Nicol. sns

Bharati Tamang’s reaction – claims of collusion or confusion ?!!

Bharati Tamang with Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee - now with charges of collusion or confusion ?!! (TT)

From The Pioneer
By Saugar Sengupta

Kolkata, Monday, August 23, 2010: Bharati Tamang, wife of Madan Tamang, had claimed the Left Front Government had colluded with the GJM and arranged for Nicole’s escape in order to buy truce on Gorkhaland issue.

Politically subdued after the murder, the GJM bounced back on Sunday calling a Darjeeling bandh, “which may take place for an indefinite period if Nicole is not produced immediately”.

GJM leaders suspected foul play as senior leaders did not rule out his being eliminated “to suppress the truth”.

Party leader Roshan Giri said, “The Government has to resolve the issue as the Hill people are asking questions on Nicole’s mysterious disappearance. Many revolutionary leaders have disappeared from police custody earlier – never to be found. Foul play cannot be ruled out.”

Nicole had been booked under non-bailable Sections 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. Two other bailable sections for vandalising public property and theft were also levelled against him.

Conspiracy – who, what, when, where, why, how ?!!

From The Hindu Special correspondent

KOLKATA, August 22, 2010: The GJM’s major adversary, the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL), has also threatened a bandh from Tuesday unless the CID authorities re-arrest Nikol Tamang by then.

Its leadership accused the “State government of being in league with the GJM” and described the escape “as a conspiracy.”

Madan Tamang was ABGL president when he was killed in broad day light in Darjeeling on May 21.

GJM supporters staged a demonstration in Darjeeling demanding an explanation on how Nikol Tamang escaped.

Poster in Kurseong – spontaneous reaction by the people for the cause ?!!

Posters in Kurseong, Kalimpong & Darjeeling - hopefully just a poster war and nothing more ?!! (Darpan)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH

Darjeeling, Aug. 22: A hand-written poster signed by the Nari Morcha was found pasted at the motor stand in Kurseong today. The poster read that Bharti Tamang, Dawa Sherpa and Pratap Khati of the ABGL would not be allowed to return to the hills because they were “anti-Gorkhaland”.

Morcha assistant secretary Binay Tamang, however, said his party had not taken any such stand.

All three had left for Delhi about a week ago to meet top leaders in the government and. They have met Union home minister P. Chidambaram and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. They are scheduled to meet Rahul Gandhi tomorrow to discuss the hill issues.

Hills braces for fresh spell of turmoil – till the Nicole Tamang case is solved or shelved ?!!

Indefinite Bandh in Darjeeling, Kalimpong & Kurseong - just for how many days ?!! (TT)

From The Times of India
By Deep Gazmer

DARJEELING, Aug 23, 2010, 05.13am IST (TNN): Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Nicole Tamang’s escape drama has snowballed into a political war. And once again, the Hills people are scared of an unrest.

Soon after the news spread that Nicole had fled from CID custody, Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) supporters started agitating in front of Darjeeling Sadar police station, blaming the state government and GJM for Nicole’s escape. Within an hour, GJM activists staged a demonstration at the same place against the state government and made a more serious allegation that police had killed Nicole in a fake encounter.

Thana Gherao in Kalimpong - making demands on a stretched police ?!! (Darpan)

Soon, the heat spread across the Hills and GJM supporters started holding rallies in several places. Posters came up, accusing the state of staging an encounter. The allegation turned into a strong rumour in the Hills.

Shortly before noon, ABGL general secretary Lakshman Pradhan directly blamed an “unholy nexus” between state government and GJM behind the escape of Nicole, believed to be the mastermind of ABGL president Madan Tamang’s murder.

“The whole thing is but a drama of the state government, which is in cahoots with GJM. The escape was dramatised by police on the state government’s directive so that the Dooars and Terai region can be bargained during the talks,” alleged Pradhan. The ABGL leadership sent a written complaint against the state government to Delhi and called a 24-hour strike on Tuesday .

Within hours, GJM leadership came out with stronger charges. This was, in fact, the first time the Morcha broke its silence on Nicole’s arrest. “He (Nicole) was suffering from various ailments. He may have died in custody due to torture or even been killed in an encounter. CID and police have come up with the escape story to hide their wrongdoing,” said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the GJM press and publicity secretary.

GJM leaders at the press brief in Darjeeling on Sunday - just will not buy the escape story of the CID ?!! (Rabin Rai)

“How can Nicole escape when there are 60-70 policemen guarding him?” asked Benoy Tamang, GJM assistant secretary. “We demand that Nicole be produced alive within 12 hours, failing which our party will initiate political programmes.”

“The state government wants to foil the tripartite talks, which have been successful so far. They first conspired the ABGL leader’s murder and now Nicole’s escape,” said Roshan Giri, GJM secretary.

Nicole’s mother Bina and wife Prema lodged a complaint at Darjeeling Sadar police station on his “disappearance”. “The complaint will be forwarded to Pradhan Nagar police station from where Nicole went missing,” said a police officer.

Police fear that the Morcha, which was cornered over the Madan Tamang murder issue, will try everything to gain political mileage from Nicole’s escape. Police are more worried as three companies of CRPF that were deployed in the Hills were shifted to Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.

EARLIER THE BREAKING STORY – NOTICE THE BENGAL BENT ?!!

Key accused in Madan Tamang murder case escapes from custody – raking the all India sensibilities ?!!

From The Hindustan Times
By Amitava Banerjee

__________________________________________________________________

related stories – the natural Bengal Media Link ?!!

GJM man held for killing Madan Tamang
Tamang’s murder: Darjeeling tense, FIR against GJM leaders
__________________________________________________________________

Madan Tamang's body being taken out of the Sadar Hospital - what's this got to do with the alleged escape, disappearance or custodial murder of Nicole Tamang, just sensationalization by a Bengal leaning media ?!! (The Hindustan Times)

Darjeeling, August 22, 2010, 11:04 IST: Nickol Tamang, a Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leader and the prime accused in the murder case of Madan Tamang, president of All India Gorkha League (AIGL) escaped from CID custody in Pintail Village, near Siliguri in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal on Sunday morning.

Confirming the incident to HT, Neeraj Nayan Pandey, IG (CID) said, “Nickol Tamang escaped this morning but the detail of his escape is still awaited. We have sent officers to investigate the matter”.

Tamang was lodged at a CID camp near Siliguri in the plains, around 73 km from Darjeeling town. This morning the police found Nickol Tamang to be missing from the toilet.

Tamang was arrested on August 16 from his ancestral house in Kainjaley, 47 km from Darjeeling and sent to Judicial custody. CID subsequently obtained his remand for interrogation.

Nickol Tamang has been booked in three cases, the prime being the Madan Tamang murder case with non-bailable sections including 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy.)

The other two other cases include one of vandalizing and destruction of property (bailable sections) under the Darjeeling police station and the other of theft (bailable section) under the Jorebungalow Police Station.

The bail plea by his defence on health grounds (chronic diabetic) had been rejected by the CJM.

AIGL leader Madan Tamang was hacked to death on May 21 by an armed mob at around 9:20am at the Upper Clubside Stand in Darjeeling town while overseeing preparations for a public meeting to begin at 10:00 am on that day.

A cell phone had been recovered from the spot belonging to Nickol Tamang, who is also a GJM Central Committee leader.

Nickol is believed to a close confidante of Bimal Gurung, the GJM president.

As a GJM Central Committee member Tamang was part of the four member GJM delegation led by Bimal Gurung that had met P Chidambaram, Union Home Minister on  April 9, 2010.

AND PICKED UP BY VARIOUS NEWS AGENCIES INDIA-WIDE

Key accused in Madan Tamang murder case escapes from custody

Again the same tag - laying it thick ?!! (TOI)

From The Times of India

Sunday, Aug 22, 2010: Tamang, a Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leader and the prime accused in the murder case of Madan Tamang, president of All India Gorkha League (AIGL) escaped from CID custody in Pintail Village, near Siliguri in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal on… Full Article at Hindustan Times

Key accused in Madan Tamang murder case escapes from custody

From Yahoo News

Darjeeling, Sun, Aug 22 12:50 PM: Nickol Tamang, a Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leader and the prime accused in the murder case of Madan Tamang, president of All India Gorkha League (AIGL) escaped from CID custody in Pintail Village, near Siliguri in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal on Sunday morning.

Confirming the incident to HT, Neeraj Nayan Pandey, IG (CID) said, “Nickol Tamang escaped this morning but the detail of his escape is still awaited. We have sent officers to investigate the matter”.

Tamang was lodged at a CID camp near Siliguri in the plains, around 73 km from Darjeeling town. This morning the police found Nickol Tamang to be missing from the toilet.

Tamang was arrested on August 16 from his ancestral house in Kainjaley, 47 km from Darjeeling and sent to Judicial custody. CID subsequently obtained his remand for interrogation.

Nickol Tamang has been booked in three cases, the prime being the Madan Tamang murder case with non-bailable sections including 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy.) The other two other cases include one of vandalizing and destruction of property (bailable sections) under the Darjeeling police station and the other of theft (bailable section) under the Jorebungalow Police Station.

The bail plea by his defence on health grounds (chronic diabetic) had been rejected by the CJM. AIGL leader Madan Tamang was hacked to death on May 21 by an armed mob at around 9:20am at the Upper Clubside Stand in Darjeeling town while overseeing preparations for a public meeting to begin at 10:00 am on that day.

A cell phone had been recovered from the spot belonging to Nickol Tamang, who is also a GJM Central Committee leader.

Nickol is believed to a close confidante of Bimal Gurung, the GJM president.

THE FAMILY GRIEF: Wife sees plot in disappearance – CID bungling and inept coverup ?!!

A distraught mother and wife of Nicole Tamang at Sadar Police station - who is to understand their concern ?!! (Rabin Rai)

From The Times of India

DARJEELING, Aug 23, 2010, 05.10am IST (TNN): Alleging police negligence and conspiracy against her husband, Nicole Tamang’s wife Pema Tamang filed a complaint at Darjeeling Sadar police station on Sunday.

Nicole, a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) central committee leader, was arrested on August 16. He was produced in court on August 18 and the state CID was granted 12 days’ remand for interrogation. Nicole was taken to a temporary office of CID in Pintail village, Siliguri, from where he escaped.

“I don’t know what the larger picture is, but I think police and CID are hiding my husband somewhere. This whole story about his escape is not true,” said Pema.

GJM supporters gheraoed the police station in the afternoon, claiming that Nicole was innocent. They also demanded that he be brought back alive.

Nicole’s mother Bina pleaded with police officers to bring back her son. “I want my son back. I told police officers that he was innocent when they arrested him. Now, CID has lost him,” said Bina.

Nicole, along with some other GJM leaders, is accused in the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) leader Madan Tamang.

His mother, though, refused to believe he had a hand in the killing. “My son is not one to indulge in wrongdoings and mostly keeps to his contract work,” said Bina.

Nicole was involved in a case of rioting in 2009 during the height of GJM’s agitation for separate statehood, say police officers. “I cannot say if he had a criminal record as I got posted here recently. But his name was mentioned in a rioting case in 2009,” said Indrajit Thapa, officer-in-charge of Darjeeling Sadar police station.

One of the key accused in Tamang’s murder escapes from CID custody

From The Hindu Special correspondent


ABGL bandh from Tuesday unless Nikol Tamang is re-arrested

Madan Tamang was ABGL president when he was killed


KOLKATA, Monday, Aug 23, 2010: Arrested by the police six days ago, Nikol Tamang, one of the prime accused in the murder of prominent political leader Madan Tamang, escaped from the custody of the State’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Pintail village near Siliguri in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district early on Sunday.

The incident has precipitated a fresh spell of political uncertainty in the Darjeeling hills with the leadership of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), to which Nikol Tamang belonged, calling an indefinite bandh in the three hill subdivisions from the afternoon, alleging that he had been killed in custody.

The agitation that began at 1 p.m. will be intensified unless the authorities can provide proof to the contrary within 12 hours, Benoy Tamang, assistant general secretary, GJM told The Hindu over telephone.

Conspiracy

The GJM’s major adversary, the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL), has also threatened a bandh from Tuesday unless the CID authorities re-arrest Nikol Tamang by then.

Its leadership accused the “State government of being in league with the GJM” and described the escape “as a conspiracy.”

Madan Tamang was ABGL president when he was killed in broad day light in Darjeeling on May 21.

GJM supporters staged a demonstration in Darjeeling demanding an explanation on how Nikol Tamang escaped.

AND THE INSTANT LOCAL MEDIA REACTION

Public Concern over the proposed Interim Setup in Darjeeling Hills – riding the pro-Bengal viewpoint ?!!

From The Himalayan Beacon
By Barun Roy

DARJEELING, 22 AUGUST 2010: In an ‘interactive meeting’ organised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha at Gymkhana Club in Darjeeling yesterday, the party President, Bimal Gurung said, “Our party is committed towards the inclusion of Dooars Terai in the proposed Interim Setup.

However, if indeed the people of Dooars Terai are so eager in wanting the region amalgamated in the proposed Interim Setup, we will all have to work together towards it. I will be holding a meeting at Jaigaon on the 29th of August and then I will announce the agitational programmes of our party to be carried out in Dooars Terai.”

While the GJM Supremo’s words were aimed at addressing the concerns of Gorkhas in Dooars Terai, it was evident that the party was convinced that ultimately Dooars Terai would not be incorporated in the proposed Interim Setup.

Interestingly, the GJM President’s frequent onus on the people of Dooars Terai to see to it that ‘the region does get amalgamated in the Interim Setup’ proved to an extent that the party would indeed blame it upon the people of the region themselves if indeed the region did not come under the purview of the proposed ‘Interim Setup’, the successful hosting of the proposed 29th August meeting at Jaigaon thence being a ‘test of sorts’ for the Gorkhas of Dooars Terai. Indeed Gurung has challenged the Gorkhas in Dooars Terai to gather 40,000 people during the meeting if they are committed towards Gorkhaland.

Speaking to Beacon Online on phone, Pandit Ram Sharma, a prominent Nepali writer from Banarhat, Jalpaiguri said, “It is unfortunate that the parties based in Darjeeling play much the same game as the parties based in Kolkata play with the rest of the people of the Dooars Terai. It is certain that the majority of the Dooars Terai will not be brought into the purview of the proposed Interim Setup and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha much like its predecessor, the Gorkha National Liberation Front will settle for an ‘Interim autonomous setup’ leaving us high and dry.”

Lt. Colonel Ramesh Thapa (Retd) of the Gorkha Seva Sadan based in Dehradun speaking to Beacon Online said, “The Gorkhas spread across the nation have been sympathetic to the Gorkhaland movement spearheaded by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in Darjeeling Hills, because the formation of the separate state of Gorkhaland will once and for all solve the identity crisis of the Gorkhas in India. However, while the parties from Darjeeling have since been quick to see our support by suggesting that they will not give up the demand for the separate state of Gorkhaland for some ‘autonomous setup’, they have been quick to exactly the same. If indeed, the struggle led by these parties are merely aimed at gaining some political concessions then it best that the term ‘Gorkha’ be not used, since a generation of people have sacrificed a lot for the term ‘Gorkha’ to be taken with respect by the world. It certainly cannot be used as a USP by any political party who wants to make a quick political gain.”

Professor S K Lama, an academician based in Shillong, speaking to Beacon Online on phone said,”The GJM agreeing to the formation of an interim setup has really put a huge question mark on the continuing of the support of the party by Gorkhas outside Darjeeling Hills. I mean what have we to gain on continuing our support to the GJM or the so called Gorkhaland Movement in Darjeeling Hills. If the party’s  intelligentsia believes that the ‘Identity Issue’ of the Gorkhas will solved by adding the them ‘Gorkha’ or ‘Gorkhaland’ to any autonomous council setup by the Government of West Bengal in agreement with the Union Government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, then I do not see why there was any need for the removal of Subash Ghisingh and the GNLF. If indeed the GJM was only eager to fill in the shoes of the GNLF, then why didn’t they simply called for the elections to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and winning in proposed to the Government for the increase in the powers of the same? At least a lot of people would have still be alive and the dream for the state of Gorkhaland still been alive amongst many of us. Gauging by the turn of events it certainly seems that the GJM has merely used the issue of Gorkhas and Gorkhaland to usurp GNLF and become the GNLF.”

A political analyst based in Darjeeling speaking anonymously to Beacon Online said, “There are a number of questions that are being raised which no one  is ready to answer. Firstly, why is there a hurry to accept an ‘Interim Setup’? And if indeed an ‘Interim Setup’ why until 31st of December 2011? Whats is so special about that day? Secondly, it is well known that the Dooars Terai cannot be brought into the purview of the proposed ‘Interim Setup’. This is unfortunate since, the people in the Dooars Terai Gorkhas and Non-Gorkhas alike who have participated in the Gorkhaland movement will not just be once again alienated they will be subject to unending political humiliation and subjugation on the hands of other parties. It will not be a surprise than that these people will forever lose hope on Gorkhaland and anyone promising Gorkhaland later will be swiftly shown the Dooars. This will perhaps not just be true about the Dooars Terai but indeed the entire of the nation.”

He further said, “The party has also not made it clear as what the Interim Setup will actually be like. Even the questions raised on the Constitutional validity of the setup raised in your vary own newsite (Beacon Online) has remained unanswered by the party. Further, there is no question of amending the Constitution simply to accommodate 1 year long ‘Interim Setup’. So in all eventuality, the ‘Interim Setup’ will once again be setup through State Legislation much like the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. While the number of departments under the purview of the ‘Setup’ could be increased along with the finances made available to it, the most important of questions vis-a-vis the identity of the  Gorkhas in India and the right to self determination has not been answered. Merely adding Gorkha or Gorkhaland to any setup will not solve the identity crisis of Gorkhas in India. Further, the aspirations for the right to self determination will also not be solved through any ‘autonomous setup’ setup through the West Bengal Legislation. No matter much money we will have we will still have to seek the approval of the West Bengal Legislature to spend it. The State Government will still have the ultimate authority on the workings of the setup no matter what the leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha might say, ‘State within a State’ is never a possibility much like a ‘Country within a Country’”.

M. Tamang, an Advocate based in Siliguri speaking to Beacon Online on phone said, “Nicole Tamang’s escape from the CID’s camp in Siliguri is certainly the most ridiculous affair in this whole Gorkhaland Movement.

Certainly, the prime accused in the assassination of the Gorkha League to be able to escape the State’s Top Cop’s grip is comical. How did he do it anyway? While I am not a detective but here is how he must have escaped. The CID’s camp was based at the Pintail village.

While this might not be known to many in Darjeeling Hills and beyond, the Pintail village, a number of bungalows built near the Darjeeling More at the edge of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council’s administrative with the subdivision of Siliguri was built by Subash Ghisingh. While the Village was built as a model village for the settlement of Darjeeling Hills’ booming upper class and the DGHC was to spout such villages all across the region, the Village became Ghisingh and the GNLF party executives private holiday enclave.

The Ministers and VVIPs of the West Bengal State Government were also frequently hosted there by the GNLF Supremo. After the ouster of the GNFL, the GJM Supremo took it over and made it his own only to be taken later by Bihari Lal Meena who converted it into his ‘Makeshift’ DGHC Headquarters.

Interestingly, since everyone uses the facility, the special CID team sent by the State Government also made their camp there and Nicole Tamang, the prime accused in the Gorkha League President’s assassination was housed there. Since the facility is not equipped to house a prisoner or to be used as an ‘interrogation chamber’, it is possible that Nicole Tamang in all probability was able walk through the gates and catch a taxi transporting him probably across the border in Nepal.

This is beside the fact that he was not given a ride by the CID officers to Nepal. It is possible that Nicole Tamang’s freedom was one of the conditions set towards the going through of the signing of the ‘Interim Accord’, the Government not being in the position to let go Tamang legally set him free nonetheless.  I certainly cannot believe that Nicole Tamang has fled from the custody of the CID, but if he really has it has not been without the help of some powerful entities within and outside the Government.”

A teacher based in Darjeeling speaking anonymously to Beacon Online said, “In 2007, with the formation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, we had all breathed a sigh of relief that at last we will be able to live in freedom and above all our life long dream of Gorkhaland will become a reality.

Of course, we all knew that Gorkhaland will not come soon. We will have to struggle for it possibly for years. However, we were ready. But it seems now that the issue of Gorkhaland has been used like a USP to gain political power. The issue about the formation of the state and the identity of the Gorkhas in India seems to have been abandoned.  In fact, it now seems that there is a great deal of eagerness within the cadres and the leaders of the party especially in Darjeeling Hills to see through the formation of the ‘Interim Setup’ so that they could wash their hands in this ‘river of money’.

Just like the leaders and cadres of the GNLF was hell bent in trying to convince to the people in the hills and Dooars Terai that the Sixth Schedule was the answer for all our problems, the leaders and cadres of GJM is seems today is hell bent is making the ‘Interim Setup’ a reality. People who have opposed it have been silenced and the accused freed legally and some even illegally.

The escape of Nicole Tamang from the CID’s custody yesterday (21st ?!!) has proved beyond doubt that the people in this nightmarish existence of domination under the State Government, the Union Government and the dominant party in the region actually do not have anything to say, they are merely the logs to be tossed up in the funeral pyre of Gorkhaland.”

The Himalayan Beacon Continues

By Barun Roy

DARJEELING, Aug 22, 2010: The alleged escape of Nicole Tamang, the chief accused in the murder of the Gorkha League President has once again led to political turmoil in Darjeeling Hills.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has called for an indefinite strike demanding that the Nicole Tamang be produced before the people. The party alleges that Nicole was physically tortured during his interrogation by the CID and hence, possibly he could have died leading to the CID declaring him as having escaped from their custody. The All India Gorkha League meanwhile has demanded the arrest of Nicole Tamang within 24 hours failing which the party will call for an indefinite strike in the hills.

The majority of tourists fearing political uncertainty in the hills have left putting to an end the tourist season which was just beginning.

Meanwhile, in a bizarre incident ‘The Himalayan Beacon’ has received intimation from ‘The CYBER CRIME & TERRORISM DEPT’, New Delhi – 110001 stating that the news portal is being ‘vigiled’ by the Department 24 x 7. While it remains uncertain whether the intimation made by the Department through a comment on Beacon Online is genuine or not, the Department has not sent any such intimation through email or fax.

It also remains to be ascertained as to what the Bureau has felt to be of such concern that the Bureau would keep the site under the vigil of the Bureau 24 x 7. The Himalayan Beacon is at the moment trying to contact the Bureau and the readers will be kept abreast with everything.

BREAKING NEWS: GJM issues no-entry diktat for Gorkha League leaders – a spontaneous reaction & denied by Binoy Tamang ?!!

By Barun Roy

Darjeeling, August 22nd, 2010: According to reports coming in the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has declared that Gorkha League leaders presently in New Delhi including Party President Bharati Tamang will not be allowed to enter Darjeeling Hills if Nicole Tamang is not produced. The party has alleged that the leaders are hand-in-glove with the Government of West Bengal in the ‘disappearance’ of Nicole Tamang.

Meanwhile, a news reporting that Nicole Tamang was caught in Naxalbari has been declared as incorrect.

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