state news

Darjeeling: Police official feared dead after clash with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha

The clashes took place 16 days after the GJM called off its 104-day strike, where protestors were demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.

A police sub-inspector was injured during a clash with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters loyal to Bimal Gurung near Darjeeling on Friday, The Indian Express reported. The clashes took place 16 days after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha called off its 104-day strike.

The organisation used the strike to revive its agitation in the hills for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

The clash occurred during a police raid at Tukvar area near Patlaybas. The police official who was critically injured was Assistant Sub Inspector Amitava Mullick. Four others were also injured. Some reports have claimed that the officer died of his injuries later, though this has not been confirmed by the police.

The West Bengal Police had launched a massive search operation for Gurung, who is believed to be in Sikkim.

The GJM is divided into two factions, one led by Gurung and another by party leader Binay Tamang who has the support of the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government. The latest clash follows Gurung’s announcement that he will ask his supporters, on October 30, to take to the streets and demand for a separate state. “If I need to die, I will do so before the people,” Gurung said.

The turmoil in the Darjeeling Hills began in June, after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. Banerjee later clarified that hill districts would be exempted from the rule, but protestors intensified their agitation.

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