Aug. 24: The state government is rushing three companies of CRPF to the Darjeeling hills fearing a fresh outbreak of violence following the disappearance of Nickole Tamang from CID custody.
The Darjeeling district administration has assured the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that no physical harm has come to Nickole and that he will be traced soon, but with extensive searches over the last two days yielding no results, the police are unsure about when he will be found.
“The state government is leaving no stone unturned toensure peace in the hills,” a district official said. “This is why the three companies of paramilitary forces which had been shifted to Jammu and Kashmir on August 20 will be replaced.”
The Morcha has voiced fears that Nickole, a prime suspect in the Madan Tamang murder case who had been taken into custody by the CID, may have come to harm during police interrogation since he is a diabetic and is hypertensive. The party has voiced apprehensions that the “escape theory” was hatched by the police to cover it up.
“Nickole may not have been able to bear the tough interrogation by the police, given his fragile health,” Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the media and publicity secretary of the Morcha, said today. “They are now making up these stories.”
Nickole is a central committee member of the Morcha and is known to be close to party chief Bimal Gurung.
“We fear that if we are unable to produce Nickole Tamang soon, the Morcha may get restive and fresh violence may break out in the hills,” an officer said. “For the time being, we have assured them that Tamang has escaped, but if we are unable to recapture him soon then they may start doubting us.”
Today, the district police carried out searches near Pintail Village from where Nickole allegedly escaped on Sunday morning, as well as in Sukna and Matigara.
“Nickole may have initially taken shelter in Morcha strongholds near Pintail village, but it now appears that he has moved away, maybe to Nepal, about 45km from here,” a police officer said in Siliguri.
Darjeeling police chief D.P. Singh said the CID has announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for information on Nickole leading to his arrest (see below).
State home secretary Samar Ghosh today said P. Nirajnayan, inspector general, CID, would visit Siliguri tomorrow to supervise the search operations and also investigate Nickole’s disappearance. The government is keen to know why a Darjeeling district police escort team meant to guard Nickole was sent back while the accused stayed overnight at cottage 29 in Pintail. The CID has come under scanner for flouting a government rule that says those in police remand has to be kept at the lock-up at night.
Cash for catch
Reward amount: Rs 50,000
To be given by: CID
For: Any information leading to Nickole’s arrest l Contact numbers: 03324506100 9433295531 9433352094 9733008001