|Shops with downed shutters in Darjeeling on Sunday. Picture by Suman Tamang
A boy in a white T-shirt had delivered the killer blow, driving a sharp weapon into Madan Tamang, says Laxman Pradhan, the general secretary of the ABGL, who was present at the spot.
The boy was among the three who had reached Tamang while a mob of 100 rained stones on the others. Pradhan recounts what he saw lying on the ground before a policeman dragged him away:
Things were fine that morning (Friday, May 21) and preparations were almost final. Madandaju asked me to finalise the names of the speakers and inquired when Dawa Sherpa (BJP state secretary) and R.B. Rai (CPRM general secretary) would be arriving. I told him that RBdaju would be coming soon and that Dawa was supposed to reach the venue by 10am.
I asked him whether we should include the names of our party leaders from Kalimpong in the speakers list. He told me not to and said he would speak for more than two hours. He was of the belief that R.B. Rai and Dawa Sherpa would not speak for more than 10 minutes each.
With everything settled, I went towards Keventers and asked the police constables if they could bring me five patties, and gave one of them Rs 50. I waited for some time before the policeman returned saying that he could not find any patty.
I walked back towards daju and it was then that I heard shouts, and people were running towards us. We were being pelted with stones and one hit Madandaju on the head. Other stones also landed on some of our supporters. By then, I had almost reached daju. My bodyguard pulled me from behind and I fell to the ground. Then I, too, was hit by a stone.
My immediate reaction was to look at Madandaju who was sitting on the chair. I could hear him tell our supporters not to run. He was also telling the crowd: Bhai, listen to me.
At that moment I saw three boys, all of whom were armed with sharp weapons, khukuris and patangs. One boy, who was in a white T-shirt, hit daju with the sharp weapon and he collapsed on the ground. The boy who hit him was shorter than daju (probably around 5.6 feet). The faces were unknown.
My bodyguard then fired and the mob started retreating. Dajus bodyguard also fired and I think the IRB personnel, too, started firing. I was taken to a passage inside a building by the policemen who did not let me come out.