Gunfight in India's Darjeeling kills police officer

Police had raided the area to arrest absconding GJM supremo Bimal Gurung.

The West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) has summoned Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung for "repeated gross violation of child rights", the statutory body's chief said on Saturday. They were rushed to a local hospital, where Malik succumbed to injuries.

One police officer was killed and four others were injured Friday in a gunfight with suspected separatists in Darjeeling, the famous tea-growing region of eastern India that has been roiled by protests in recent months.

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The GJM claimed three of its supporters were killed in police firing. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, while attending a rally in West Midnapore district, said: "We are not supporting anyone in the Hills".

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.

Later, police recovered nine AK 47 rifles, a Berretta pistol, a point 22 bore rifle, a musket, a radio manpack, over 1,800 rounds of ammunition, 20 gelatine sticks, more than 1,000 detonators, camping materials, a sophisticated binocular and batteries.

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Restrictions have been imposed on entry to the village, a Gurung stronghold, and police are conducting raids in the area. "My son's soul will rest in peace only if Bimal Gurung is shot in the head", Soumen said.

According to him, intelligence reports suggest that Gurung has been in touch with Maoists and other North East-based insurgent groups. "Bimal Gurung has to take responsibility", said Tamang, now in Kolkata, where he called on Banerjee.

Friday's incident queers the pitch for the proposed tripartite talks at the Union home ministry over the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

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  • Ryan Wade