Darjeeling: A Sub-Inspector was shot dead on Friday morning as police raided a forest to catch Bimal Gurung, the leader of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha who is wanted by the Bengal government over deadly clashes and a 104-day shut down that crippled the Darjeeling region this summer.
Though Gurung managed to flee, a huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered.
"We had specific inputs that Gurung is camping in the riverbed below Lapchey Bustee, a forested area around 20 kms from Darjeeling town. A raid party arrived at riverbed below the Shirubari forest and met with heavy firing which led to SI Amitava Malik's death. Gurung and the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) escaped by crossing the stream. We have found blood marks on the other side of the stream which indicates that they were injured," stated Akhilesh Chaturvedi, SP, Darjeeling.
A huge cache of arms and ammunition was also recovered which included 9 AK47s, 1,800 rounds of ammunition, 20 gelatin sticks, 1,000 detonators, 1 sophisticated binocular, 1 manpack, 1 Beretta pistol and explosives.
"One person has been arrested. He has revealed that Gurung and the GLP have been camping in this area for more than a month. We have also found documents and identity proofs in the search. The arms and ammunition could have been smuggled from the North East," added Chaturvedi.
While the raid was going on in this area, a group of youth torched a police recovery vehicle and beat up its driver Kumar Tamang and left him in the bushes thinking he had died.
He was later rescued by the police and admitted to Darjeeling Sadar hospital. Another police officer is said to be injured too.
The body of slain police officer SI Amitava Malik was given a ceremonial send off by the police at the Darjeeling Sadar police station. The 26-year-old had married in March this year. He used to reside in the police quarters in the premises of the Darjeeling Sadar police station. His body, accompanied by his wife was taken to Siliguri. From there, the body will be flown to Kolkata on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a huge cache of improvised arms along with explosives was recovered from the jungles of Pedong in Kalimpong on Friday evening. Gurung's close confidant Dawa Lepcha managed to give police a slip.
The house of one Suman Chettri was raided from where all these arms and ammunition was recovered. One Vivek Rai and Rekha Chettri have been arrested.