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12 Mar 2018

Gurung prepared for armed struggle: Cops

Bimal Gurung’s driver Sidhant Kami with the seized arms at Darjeeling police station on Sunday 
Vivek Chhetri, TT,  Mar 11, 2018 Darjeeling: Police claimed on Sunday that Gorkhaland leader Bimal Gurung had been preparing for insurgency to attain the statehood and running an arms training camp at a school that purportedly belonged to his family.

The law enforcers also said Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders had received Rs 1.5 crore in cash from Sikkim during the statehood agitation last year.

The police on Sunday recovered one double barrel gun, two country made rifles, 15 live ammunition, 22 patangs (swords) and 50 meters of military fatigues from Limbu busty in Darjeeling.

The seizure comes a day before Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee arrives in Darjeeling.

The arms recovery comes close on the heels of the arrest of Gurung's driver, Sidhant Kami, on March 6.

Amarnath K, the superintendent of police (operations), Darjeeling, on Sunday said: "One Bhaskar Mukhia of Pokhriabong, who used to run a herbal nursery was arrested in the last week of February. Mukhia was made the chairman of the relief committee (during the agitation). Mukhia has said P.T. Ola (former GTA Sabha member) received Rs 1 crore in cash from Sikkim and he got Rs 50 lakh."

The police have found out that Gurung had mobilised around 120 Gorkhaland Personnel, mostly from the Dooars, and had run an arms training camp at the hostel of Kanchenjungha Public School at Tukvar. The school was purportedly run by Gurung's family.

"GLP cadres also kidnapped one Suk Tshering Lepcha from Goke who had expertise in country made guns," said Amarnath.

The police are attaching much importance to the recovery of military fatigues and revelation of the arms training. "In July, a huge consignment of camouflage dress had been recovered. It is clear that Bimal wanted to wage a war against the state and was preparing for insurgency in Darjeeling," said Amarnath.

Based on the driver's interrogation, the police said many fire arms were still in circulation in the hills. "We recovered three guns from Kami (Sunday). However, it is clear now that when Bimal Gurung fled, he distributed many firearms to people. We are on the trail to recover those arms now. There was a major haul on October 13 but there are still a lot of firearms yet to be recovered," said Amarnath.

"However, it seems only about two to five percent of the firearms have been recovered so far," he added.

The SP said of more than 300kg of gelatin that had been stolen from a hydel power plant at Negi (near Bijanbari), only about 80-90kg had been recovered. The police have also identified two ex-serviceman who used to train GLPs at Tukvar.

"Kami has told us that Gurung and his aides used to practise shooting at Jamuni where he ran an illegal crusher unit," said Amarnath.

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