Jalpaiguri, Oct. 29: A dash to safety through paddy fields ended in disaster for top KLO militant Suresh Roy when he was mowed down by security forces after a two-hour encounter this afternoon on the fringes of the Gorumara National Park under Mainaguri police station.
Another militant accompanying Roy, known in the KLO as Himalaya, managed to escape. A constable was injured in the exchange of fire.
A Chinese-made 9 mm pistol with 18 rounds of ammunition was found on the slain militant.
This is the second time this month that security forces have engaged militants in a shootout in the district. On October 9, two militants were gunned down at Pukhurigram village in Madhya Haldibari near the Indo-Bhutan border.
“Acting on a tip-off, the security forces — personnel from the district police, CRPF and the crack commando outfit — rushed to Dakshin Kalimati on the Mainaguri-Ramsai Road near the Gorumara National Park,” additional superintendent of police, Jalpaiguri, Anand Kumar said.
The security forces found the two militants scurrying through a paddy field to sneak into the reserve forest. On being challenged, the militants opened fire from their automatic weapons. “While one of the militants fell to our bullets, the other managed to escape. We recovered eight empty shells from the spot,” Kumar said.
Police believe the two rebels were part of a larger gang of KLO militants said to have been hiding in the area.
Jalpaiguri superintendent of police Siddh Nath Gupta is supervising the combing operations launched to arrest the other militants, who are suspected to have sneaked into the dense national park.
In Calcutta, inspector-general of police (law and order) Chayan Mukherjee said all police stations in the six north Bengal districts have been reinforced following the spate in extremist activities.
He said a constable of the state armed police was wounded when the militants opened fire on the police party around 12.45 this afternoon.