Darjeeling/Siliguri, Aug 24 (IBNS) The pro-statehood Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) said the ongoing indefinite strike in West Bengal’s Darjeeling would be lifted for 48 hours from Wednesday after assurances from the police that party leader Nickol Tamang, who was arrested for the killing of a senior Gorkha leader, would be tracked down.
Nickol Tamang has escaped from police custody Sunday from Pintail village near Siliguri.
A party spokesperson said they agreed to relax the strike following assurance from the district superintendent of police that Nickol Tamang would be produced before them.
The indefinite bandh crippled life in Darjeeling hills for third straight third day on Tuesday preventing stranded tourists an exit point vehicles were off the roads on National Highway connecting neighbouring Sikkim.
The GJM called a shutdown in three hill-sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, demanding production of Nickol Tamang, the prime suspect of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) president Madan Tamang’s murder, who escaped from the CID custody.
The women wing of the GJM gheraoed police stations at Darjeeling and Kalimpong on Tuesday morning demanding the presence of Nickol Tamang ‘dead or alive.’ The Nari Morcha or the women wing shouted slogans ” Pharkao haamro neta,” (return of our leader).
GJM leader Binoy Tamang earlier said the strike would continue until the production of Nickol Tamang “dead or alive.” The GJM claimed that that Nickol was murdered while he was in the custody.
The shutdown intensified after the rival ABGL, which on the other hand is protesting the escape of Nickol Tamang, called a strike of the hills demanding re-arrest of Nickol, who is also a GJM’s central committee secretary.
ABGL’s general secretary Laxman Pradan claimed that all the tea estates and cinchona gardens responded to the strike called for rearresting the fugitive, saying the “jail escape” was a ploy on the part of the West Bengal government to please the GJM.
The GJM claimed the bandh (shutdown) has been successful for its influence with the people and the ABGL has nothing to do.
The Siliguri police filed a case with Pradhan Nagar Police station under 224 -IPC for fleeing of Nickol from CID custody. Nickol, who was arrested on Aug 16 for the May 21 murder case of of Madan Tamang, was on judicial remand and subsequently on CID remand upto Aug 30 by an order of Darjeeling’s Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court.
Meanwhile, the tourists in Sikkim and Darjeeling were stranded and having tough time owing to the spiralling prices of essentials and vegetables.
Police on Monday escorted some 200 odd tourists to Siliguri from Darjeeling but the bandh supporters on Tuesday completely shut the roads. The tourists in Sikkim also got stuck as the NH 31A, the lifeline of Sikkim, was out of bound.
Special Superintendent of CID(North) Nishad Parvez said they were still looking for Nickol.