KOLKATA: A sense of simmering outrage over the politics of hate that has seized the Darjeeling Hills in recent times was evident as hundreds of mourners joined the funeral procession of prominent leader Madan Tamang as it weaved its way in intermittent rain along the roads of the hill town on Monday.
Even as some expressed their anger by bringing down some rooftop flags of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) in a public show of defiance towards the region's principal political force, the murder of Madan Tamang has precipitated an unprecedented crisis in the party with 10 senior leaders, including some belonging to its central committee resigning. More could follow suit.
A section of the top leadership of the GJM has been named in a first information report lodged by Laxman Pradhan, general secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL), for involvement in a conspiracy to kill Tamang.
The dramatic turn of events in the Darjeeling Hills has already sent signals of likely changes in political equations in the region. Distinct signs of dissent within the GJM leadership are perceptible threatening the very future of a political force that has reigned supreme ever since it was formed in October 2007.
The body of Tamang, who was a vociferous critic of the GJM and a prominent protagonist for democracy in the region, was taken to his native village Meghma where the funeral took place.
In his death the ABGL president seems to have galvanised civil society into affirmative action. Processions have been brought out in various parts of the hills over the week-end condemning the raging violence over the past few years.
For the first time the GJM writ that has ruled in the hills is being challenged by the public.
The spontaneous closure of shops and commercial complexes moments after Tamang's murder is being viewed as an expression of collective resentment against the alleged stifling of political dissent by the GJM.
That political opposition to the GJM was intensifying in recent times was evident in a decision of seven regional parties banding together under the banner of Democratic Front earlier this month in protest against the GJM's programme.
Tamang was one of the chief architects of this political conglomerate that supported the demand for a separate “Gorkhaland” state.
The West Bengal government has instructed the State's Criminal Investigation Department to inquire into the events leading to Tamang's murder.