A large amount of explosives, IED-making equipment and ammunition were seized from West Bengal’s Darjeeling district on Friday and police claimed to have found links of numerous Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists in the case.
The seizure happened during a raid on an illicit explosives factory and some nearby residences in Darjeeling district’s Limbu Basti area on Friday, the state police said.
“We have seized a huge cache of explosives and IED making equipment from a factory in Limbu Basti during a raid,” Darjeeling Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Kumar Chaturvedi said at a press conference.
“Apart from this, some bomb making materials and bullet heads were recovered from the house of one Vishal Dumjan,” the police officer added.
He said the police have found proof of involvement of some GJM leaders, activists and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) members, including GJM chief Bimal Gurung’s personal assistant Deepen Male, in the case.
However, no one could be arrested during Friday’s raid.
The police had busted another illegal explosives factory four days ago in Darjeeling’s Lebong and seized large quantities of explosives there.
“According to the seizure, the module used this factory and the factory in Lebong are inter-related. It seems the same person has been supervising the explosives manufacturing,” the police officer said.
“We are suspecting that some locals who took training in the northeast are currently running these modules in the hills,” he added.
Meanwhile, a clash broke out between Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists and the police during a pro-shutdown rally in Darjeeling in the afternoon, leading the police to baton charge and lob tear gas shells at the agitators to disperse them.
In a sudden escalation of violence on the 85th day of GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown in the hills, the activists allegedly attacked the police with stones after their rally was stopped near Chawkbazar on Friday, a police officer said.
“No permission for the rally was given by the administration. As a result, they were stopped by police after a certain point,” Chaturvedi said.
“When they resorted to violence, we had to take necessary measures to push them back. Two of our officials got injured in the stone pelting,” he added.
According to sources close to the GJM, at least 8-10 activists were injured in Friday’s incident.