Gunfight in India's Darjeeling kills police officer

Will scenes like this return in the north Bengal hills again that’s the question after Friday’s clashes between the police and GJM supporters

Will scenes like this return in the north Bengal hills again that’s the question after Friday’s clashes between the police and GJM supporters

Early in the morning at 5 am, today, violence once again broke out in the hills of West Bengal, when the Kolkata police raided a forest area near Patlebas in Darjeeling.

Fresh violence erupted today in Darjeeling and several policemen were injured in clashes with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters loyal to party supremo Bimal Gurung. The GJM cadres retaliated after police opened fire, sources said.

"To tarnish the image of GJM and to brand it as a militant organisation, the West Bengal Police has been shown to have seized sophisticated arms and ammunition from Tukvar area, which is under doubt and suspicion as the arms and ammunition may have been planted by the police themselves", the statement by GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri said.

He said the police faced “heavy fire” from the group which led to the death of a police sub-inspector and injuries to four police personnel.

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Acting on a tip off, a strong police contingent on Thursday night started their operation to arrest Gurung who has been absconding for the last few months and reportedly hiding in Sikkim.

Deb said, "We have been appealing Bimal Gurung and his followers not to create violence but they do not believe in democratic agitiation, they instead want bloodshed and disturb the peace in hills".

Police ASI Amitavo Mallick lost his life in clashes between the police and GJM supporters in Darjeeling's Takvar, reported ANI. "After searching the area, police recovered AK-47 rifles, one 9 mm pistol, rounds of ammunition and bomb-making material".

A senior police official said that most of loyalists of Bimal Gurung have deserted him and joined Binay Tamang, the new chairman of the Board of Administrators for Darjeeling hills. "He has prepared a blueprint to foment trouble for his personal gain", he said.

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