Violence returned to the hills of Darjeeling once again with supporters of Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) clashing with the government forces. It left a police officer and a civilian killed and several others injured.
According to reports, assistant Sub-Inspector Amitabh Mallik died of bullet injuries in an early morning operation at a hideout of GJM president Bimal Gurung. Two policemen were also injured.
“We mourn the death of our brave heart,” senior police officer Anuj Sharma told reporters.
Bimal Gurung, the leader of GJM, is wanted by the Bengal government over deadly clashes. Over a specific information that he had returned to Darjelling, the police raided the Takvar area near Patlibash. The GJM cadres resisted the police advance resulting in violent clashes. However, Gurung has reportedly escaped from the spot.
The police have also recovered 500 rounds of bullets, 6 AK47 assault rifles and one countrymade pistol from the spot that was raided. They have also recovered explosives such as crude bombs and local pistols.
After cases under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were filed against him for his alleged involvement in various bomb blasts in Darjeeling and adjoining areas, Gurung has gone into hiding.
GJM has been demanding a separate Gorkha state. The agitation has been going on for over 100 days and has till now resulted in 13 people losing their lives. GJM is an ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The long running shutdown has also resulted in severe loss to the economy of the region that is dependent on summer tourism. The GJM chief has vowed that the shutdown in the hills would continue indefinitely.
Few days back Gurung had told his supporters that he will appear before them on October 30. “If I need to die, I will do so before the people,” he had said.