The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Artist killers elude police

Siliguri, Nov. 5: Darkness enveloped Kalamjote in the festival of lights, as residents did not observe Diwali to mourn the murder of the young painter, Chetan Gurung.

But that hardly had any impact on the law enforcement agency, still clueless about the whereabouts of the main accused, Gautam Singh, said to be close to an influential CPM leader. Singh and his associates had beaten Gurung, 25, son of a police officer, to death early yesterday.

After beating him unconscious, Singh and his associates chased the rickshaw carrying Gurung to hospital, dragged him down and assaulted him again with iron rods, leading to his death a couple of hours later.

The assault took place in the high-security Kadamtala area, where the BSF’s northern zone headquarters and a Central intelligence office are located.

G.K. Gurung, father of the victim, named Singh as the “main culprit” in the First Information Report he lodged with the Matigara police station.

The father, officer-in-charge of a police station in Arunachal Pradesh, was at home on Diwali holiday when his son was murdered.

While Singh remains “untraceable,” his associates have also not been tracked down yet.

Bagdogra circle inspector Prodyut Kumar Das said they raided Singh’s house, but failed to find anybody at home. “It seems the whole family has fled,” he added.

Das said the second assault on Gurung indicated that the attackers had “criminal intention”. But he would not say whether the attack was planned.

Gurung was assaulted after he and his friends hanging out at the side of the road protested against the rash driving of Singh, weaving through the narrow street on his motorcycle.

Residents said they found it hard to believe that Singh and his associates killed Gurung simply because he had protested against rash driving.

Police sources said the investigation into the brutal murder was hampered by the fact that the area came under three police stations — Phansidewa, Matigara and Bagdogra. “They are still debating who should do what. That definitely does not help the investigation.”

Sources said Singh might have been drunk when he attacked Gurung.

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