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