Pre-dawn swoop on Gorkha neta sparks shootout, po­lice­man killed

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION -

Darjeeling: A sub-in­spec­tor was killed and four po­lice­men were in­jured in a gun bat­tle in a riverbed close to the West-Bengal-Sikkim bor­der dur­ing a pre-dawn op­er­a­tion on Fri­day to catch fugi­tive Gorkha Jan­mukti Mor­cha leader Bi­mal Gu­rung.

A large cache of arms and am­mu­ni­tion, in­clud­ing as­sault ri­fles and over 1,000 det­o­na­tors and gelatin sticks, were re­cov­ered from the en­counter site around 27km from Darjeeling town. Gu­rung man­aged to es­cape but po­lice have launched a man­hunt for him.

Se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers said a search party com­pris­ing over 100 cops led by the Darjeeling DSP (head­quar­ters) and com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of the 10th Bat­tal­ion of the Re­serve Force left Darjeeling Sadar po­lice sta­tion around 1am on Fri­day fol­low­ing in­tel­li­gence about Gu­rung’s move­ments along with cadres of Gorkhaland Arms and am­mu­ni­tion, in­clud­ing as­sault ri­fles and over 1,000 det­o­na­tors and gelatin sticks, were re­cov­ered from the en­counter site around 27km from Darjeeling town on Fri­day Per­son­nel (GLP), an armed group look­ing af­ter his se­cu­rity. Be­lieved to be in hid­ing in Sikkim af­ter the Bengal gov­ern­ment filed three UAPA cases against him, Gu­rung, the po­lice learnt, was at­tempt­ing to cross the Ch­hota Ran­git river.

The team trav­elled to Sing­mari, Patle­bas, and down­hill to­wards Tuk­var, about 6km from Darjeeling town. There­after, they aban­doned their ve­hi­cles and started trekking down­hill be­fore split­ting up into 10 teams to comb the forested ar­eas near Bar­nes­beg, Badamtang and Singla tea es­tates.

“It took us an hour and a half to reach the riverbed. That is when the in­dis­crim­i­nate fir­ing be­gan,” a se­nior of­fi­cer present dur­ing the op­er­a­tion told TOI. Five cops were struck by bul­lets be­fore they could re­spond. ASI Ami­tava Ma­lik died on the spot. His wife, Mona was in­con­solable. Hug­ging her dead hus­band’s cof­fin, brought to his home at Sarat Kanan in Shib­tala, Mad­hyam­gram, all that she could mut­ter was, “His duty has ended. At least now let me be with him.”

TOI

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