"The GJM workers, who were armed, started firing".
The Additional Director General (law & order) of the state police, Anuj Sharma, has stated that police has information about the supremo of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, Bimal Gurung, being linked with the Maoists and other North Eastern insurgent groups. "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.
Few days back Gurung had told his supporters that he will appear before them on October 30.
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Sharma conceded that the heavy and sudden firepower caused casualties among the police contingent. Six AK-47 rifles and one 9 mm pistol have been recovered, the police said, adding that the clashes were continuing.
As the day wore on, the GJM activists torched a police vehicle.
Gurung was in hiding in neighbouring Sikkim and had tried to enter Darjeeling hills today, Sharma said.
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"Since he is cornered in the region, he wants to disturb the process of peace and development in the area", he said. Bimal has been absconding from 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.
That angered the state's roughly 1.8 million-strong Gorkha population, who speak Nepali.
Incidentally, Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee has already appointed expelled GJM leaders Binoy Tamang and Anit Thapa as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of board of administrators in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), the semi-autonomous body to run the affairs in the hills. The state government which will give Rs 5 lakh to the family of the braveheart, will also provide jobs to both the wife and the father of the slain official, minister for education Partha Chatterjee today announced after a cabinet meeting that took the decision in this regard.
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