Darjeeling, Oct 13: In a sudden flare up in West Bengal’s northern hills, a police sub-inspector was killed and three others were injured during an exchange of fire between the security forces and the Bimal Gurung faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha here on Friday, police said. Sub-Inspector Amitava Malik was fatally shot in a forested area close to Gurung’s residence at Patlebas. “The GJM workers, who were armed, started firing. While Malik died of bullet injuries, three other policemen were also injured,” Additiol Director General of Police, Law and Order, Anuj Sharma told IANS. “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.
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. Sharma said, during the clashes, Gurung and his close associates fled to the neighbouring state of Sikkim. Accusing Gurung of having links with Maoists and northeast insurgent groups, Sharma said the beleaguered GJM leader wanted to disturb the peace process.
“Gurung has lost his base, mass support. Since he is cornered in the region, he wants to disturb the process of peace and development in the area. He has prepared a blueprint to foment trouble for his persol gain,” he said. Meanwhile, the state cabinet passed a proposal to give jobs to the widow and father of the slain policeman, who was only 27 and had married seven months back. The GJM, that has been spearheading the revived movement of Gorkhaland in the hills, is now a divided house, with a section of activists remaining with GJM chief Gurung while another faction has shifted allegiance towards expelled party leader Biy Tamang. Tamang has been made the chairman of Board of Administrators of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration by the state’s Mamata Banerjee government. (IANS)