Darjeeling shutdown affects tourists visiting the hill town

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Darjeeling, May 23 (ANI): Hundreds of tourists have been left stranded in Darjeeling hill town in the wake of a sudden strike that followed the murder of Gorkha leader Madan Tamang on Friday.

Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) President Madan Tamang was stabbed to death by unknown miscreants during a public meeting in the city.

On Sunday, all shops remained closed here on Sunday even two days after the incident.

The roads are still deserted with hardly any movement of vehicles.

However, the tourists, who have come to Darjeeling from far off places, are facing difficulties, as they are left stranded.

"Our days here are going absolutely wasted. We are afraid of coming out on the streets. Even the driver of the car we took said that he would leave us behind if we take time to get back to our hotels," said Shila Paswan, a Maharashtrian tourist.

"Tourism should not be hampered, as it would affect the locals economically as well. Whatever are the demands of the (political) parties, it is fine but it should be carried out peacefully," he added.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into Tamnag's killing.

"From our side, we demand CBI inquiry...number one...number two, immediate action on the culprits till CBI inquiry is effective, and the main thing that is to be seen would be how much the government is interested to bring normalcy to Darjeeling," said Dawa Sherpa, Secretary for Darjeeling unit of BJP.

Armed supporters of the regional Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) are suspected for the attack on Tamang.

Police have detained 45 people who are GJM supporters; however, the GJM has denied the allegations.

The GJM is the forum spearheading the crusade for a separate state of Gorkhaland in West Bengal.

Tamang also demanded a separate state, but was considered to be a moderate leader.

Tamang was a vocal opponent of Bimal Gurung, chief of GJM, and had levelled corruption charges against him.

The Gorkha population in West Bengal is around one million out of the state's 80 million people. An overwhelming majority is concentrated in Darjeeling.

At least 1,200 people died in the first Gorkhaland campaign in the 1980s, but protests ended a few years later, after Gorkha leaders had accepted limited autonomy. (ANI)

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