Sub-Inspector killed in Darjeeling, hunt on for GJM chief Gurung

Darjeeling Clashes Erupt Between Police and GJM Supporters Cop Among Two Dead

"Last night (Thursday), we received specific inputs that Gurung was camping on the river bed below Lepcha Bustee along with boys of GJM's militant wing Gorkhaland Personnel, and that there were lot of arms and ammunition there", said Darjeeling's Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Chaturvedi. The police did not comment on this.

Police said the shootout followed a pre-dawn raid on a forest hideout used by members of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), a regional party agitating for a separate state for the Gorkha ethnic minority. They were rushed to a local hospital, where Malik succumbed to injuries.

The GJM leader was in hiding in neighbouring Sikkim and had tried to enter the Darjeeling hills today, Sharma said, adding that he was now trying to get back to Sikkim. "We feel ashamed of it", he said.

He said the police had gathered information of Gurung's links with Maoists and other rebel groups in the North East.

Expelled GJM leader and chairman of the Board of Administrators for Darjeeling hills, Binay Tamang, said Gurung was responsible for today's events.

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Directly implicating Gurung for the death of the cop, Sharma said: "It all happened under Bimal Gurung's leadership" but also conceded that the heavy and sudden firepower caused casualties among the police contingent.

"We mourn the death of our courageous heart", senior police officer Anuj Sharma told reporters. Police investigation is yet to ascertain who was behind the incident. The protests ended on September 27 when the GJM agreed to hold talks with the state government.

West Bengal Tourism Minister Gautam Deb, too, told reporters, "The area is Gurung's stronghold".

Gurung has been missing since August after the West Bengal government lodged cases against him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged involvement in several bomb blasts in Darjeeling and adjoining areas.

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