Darjeeling, a travesty of democracy

The shocking daylight slaying of Madan Tamang, the main Opposition leader of Darjeeling, in the heart of Darjeeling town on 21 May, has plunged hill politics to a new low. It has deepened the continuing political crisis in the hills by snuffing out the most recognizable moderate voice in the hills. The current political leadership is suddenly reviled as a murderous lot by the local populace. Worse, this act threatens the legitimacy of the on-going tripartite talks in Delhi regarding the hills' political future.

62-year-old Tamang was overseeing preparations for a public meeting to mark the foundation day of All India Gorkha League (AIGL), a party which he headed, when a mob, believed to be supporters of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM), attacked the venue with khukris and swords. He was hacked to death in full view of office-goers, local residents and tourists, and, worse, a whole contingent of police expressly deployed to the spot to maintain peace and order during the public meeting.

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Himal Southasian