Clashes between the police and members of Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha (GJM) at a forest in Darjeeling hills on Friday morning has resulted in the death of one cop, a civilian and injuring several police personnel. The incident took place at 5 am when the police raided a hideout in the forest near Patlebas area in search of GJM supremo Bimal Gurung.
The police has confirmed that the cop who was killed in the clashes has been identified as sub-inspector, Amitabh Malik, and the civilian was a supporter of Bimal Gurung. Based on information provided about Gurung’s hideout in Patlebas area near Limbu Basti, the police conducted the raid during which the GJM supporters retaliated by pelting stones and firing bullets. "Six AK 47 assault rifles, one 9 mm pistol and huge ammunition was recovered", the police said.
The GJM leader has been in hiding since June 15 after three cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were registered against him for his alleged involvement in various bomb blasts in Darjeeling and adjoining areas. Gurung, in a telephonic call from an undisclosed location, has promised to address the people of Darjeeling on October 30.
Darjeeling has been reeling under the turmoil after the Nepali-speaking population had called for a strike demanding for a separate nationhood in June. Though the 100-day strike was called off in September, the Gorkhas are now divided among two factions- the Binay Tamang led Janmukti Aasthayi Karmachari Sangathan (JAKS) and the Bimal Gurung-led GJM. The center has agreed to set up a high-level committee to engage with all stakeholders to find a solution to the vexed Gorkhaland issue. Both the factions had welcomed the move.