Gorkha leader Madan Tamang killed, Darjeeling tense

Top Gorkha leader Madan Tamang, who recently fell out with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) over the issue of Gorkhaland, was today stabbed to death by unidentified men during clashes by rival Gorkha groups in the hill town of Darjeeling.

West Bengal Urban Development minister and CPI-M leader Asok Bhattacharya accused GJM of being responsible for the brutal attack on the All India Gorkha League(AIGL) president while a top GJM leader Roshan Giri denied the allegation that activists of his group were involved.

Tension gripped Darjeeling after the attack and shops and markets were closed down. Security reinforcements were also being rushed to the tourist town.

Tamang, who is in his late 50s, was overseeing arrangements for a meeting of his party when he was attacked with kukris and swords near the Planter's club in the morning, Darjeeling district magistrate Surindra Gupta said. Kukri is a long knife used by Nepalis.

The killing in the northern town of West Bengal - 40 km from Siliguiri--in full public view occurred around 9.30 AM during violent clashes between AIGL supporters and activists of the GJM opposed to the meeting. The police fired five rounds to disperse the clashing groups.

The West Bengal government has ordered an inquiry into the killing and directed the hill administration that the assailants be arrested quickly.

Inspector-General of Police (North Bengal) K L Tamta said 11 people had been arrested in connection with the killing.

Bhattacharya, who is also the MLA from Siliguiri said, "Madan Tamang was killed by the hooligans of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. He is the first martyr for the struggle for democracy."

Giri, the second-in-command in GJM and its general secretary, rejected allegations that his group was involved.

"This is not the handiwork of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. It s a baseless allegation that GJM is involved in the attack and murder of Madan Tamang. The allegation is absolutely alse," Giri said. Giri said a few of his supporters ere injured in the clashes and one suffered bullet injuries.

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