At 5 am today, a search party of the police raided a hideout inside the Tukvar forest, looking for Bimal Gurung, and were allegedly fired upon. Police said sub-inspector Amitabha Malik was killed and four police personnel were severely injured after GJM supporters opened fire at them.
Six AK-47 rifles, one 9mm pistol, 500 rounds of ammunition and bombs had been recovered from the spot, police said.
In a statement released this evening, the Gurung camp condemned the incident and said the Mamata Banerjee government wants to derail talks with the centre and has launched a witch hunt against Mr Gurung. The statement added that the police may have planted sophisticated weapons seized from Tukvar forest.
"To tarnish the image of GJM and to brand it as a militant organisation, the West Bengal Police has been shown to have seized sophisticated arms and ammunition from Tukvar area, which is under doubt and suspicion as the arms and ammunition may have been planted by the police themselves," the statement by GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri said.
The Gurung camp has demanded central intervention and a high level probe by the NIA.
Mr Gurung has been in hiding since August after cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were registered against him for his alleged involvement in several bomb blasts in Darjeeling and adjoining areas.
This is the first such incident of violence after the 104-day long indefinite shutdown in the hills was called off on September 26 by Mr Gurung following an appeal by Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
With inputs from PTI