Ambushed Ghising hit on head
Massacre scars truce
The curse of the devil
Bullets fly, blood flows in airport nightmare
Calcutta Weather

Siliguri, Feb. 10: 
The spearhead of the Gorkhaland movement, Subash Ghising, was shot at and wounded in the head in an ambush near Kurseong this evening.

Two of Ghising�s security guards were killed while six were injured when unidentified gunmen stopped his convoy and sprayed bullets. Police suspect militants to be behind the strike.

The government has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who described the attack as �dastardly�, directed the police to take �immediate steps� to arrest those involved.

The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), which Ghising heads, has called an indefinite strike in the hills from tomorrow. Ghising, who is admitted to a private nursing home in Siliguri, will be taken to New Delhi�s AIIMS tomorrow in a chartered aircraft.

Ghising was on his way back to Darjeeling after attending the first round of the tripartite meeting between representatives of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), the state government and the Centre on reviewing the Gorkha Hill Accord.

This is the first attempt on Ghising since he launched the movement for a separate state in the early eighties.

Doctors said the GNLF chief was still not out of danger and his condition will have to be monitored for the next 48 hours. Darjeeling chief medical officer of health Tarak Nath Chhatoraj said: �His condition is stable and he is now conscious. Neuro-surgeons are operating on him to extract shrapnel lodged just behind his right ear. It is more of a superficial injury.�

Additional superintendent of police (headquarters) Javed Samim said: �Unidentified gunmen ambushed the five-car convoy of the GNLF president at Chilauney-dhura near Sat-ghoomti between Garidhura and Kurseong on the Pankhabari Road around 6 pm. The suspected militants lobbed a grenade at Ghising�s Ambassador and sprayed bullets from both sides of the road. They took advantage of the thick forest cover in the area. While four vehicles were damaged, the assailants set on fire the pilot car.�

The attackers, armed with sophisticated weapons, kept up a 30-minute exchange of fire with the Greyhound commando force assigned to guard the GNLF chief. One of the assailants was killed in the return fire by security personnel. An AK-47 rifle and a mobile phone were recovered from the spot.

Securitymen whisked away the injured Ghising to an undisclosed place before bringing him to the nursing home here under heavy security cover. Entry to the clinic has been restricted.

Tension gripped the hills of Darjeeling as news of the attack spread. Leaders of the GNLF�s branch units, who met tonight, alleged that the ambush was a �pre-planned conspiracy�. They wondered how the Darjeeling district magistrate, the superintendent of police and the additional SP in charge of Kurseong could be away at the same time.

Authorities, apprehending a backlash from the GNLF, have rushed additional security forces to all the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.

Ghising had brushed aside any possibility of threats to his life despite the ultimatum given by the Chattray Subba-led militant Gorkhaland Liberation Organisation. �The likes of Chattray Subba are not factors in Darjeeling politics. Chattrays may come and go, but the GNLF will go on for ever,� he had told The Telegraph earlier.

Subba has given a call for a renewed armed movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland. He had set the GNLF chief a deadline of December 31 to pull his councillors out of the Darjeeling Hill Council and warned him of �dire consequences� if he did not do so. Ghising had rejected Subba�s demand.

Several pro-Gorkhaland organisations, too, had begun openly opposing the GNLF�s authority. �The recovery of the AK-47 rifle and a live grenade from the spot indicates that an organised group was behind the ambush,� an official said.

Earlier today, Ghising had said that he had left two options for the state and Central governments for settling the Darjeeling dispute.

Ghising told reporters at Pental village that the options he had offered were constitutional safeguards for the hill council under provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution or formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland.


Srinagar, Feb. 10: 
A fresh burst of bloodspill stained the ceasefire as militants mowed down 15 villagers, including seven children, at a village in Jammu�s Rajouri district late last night.

The assault on Silohi village coincided with a raid by the Lashkar-e-Toiba on the main control centre of the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police in Srinagar. Police said today that at least eight securitymen had died in the gunbattle which continued for 12 hours. Two of the militants managed to escape despite the �tight� security cordon.

Police said a group of heavily-armed militants stormed Silohi village around 3 am and forced their way into the house of village defence committee member Abdul Gujjar.

The guerrillas opened fire from their automatic rifles on the sleeping persons.

All 15 members of three families staying in the house were killed on the spot. The deputy commissioner of Rajouri, K.A. Khan, said over phone that those killed included seven children, five men and three women.

Jammu range police chief R.V. Raju said the gunmen torched the house before escaping into the night. He said 10 badly-charred bodies had so far been recovered.

Families of two VDC members, Shafi and Bashir, escaped into the jungles on hearing the gunshots. But their houses, too, were burnt down by the militants.

The Rajouri superintendent of police and other officials rushed to the spot on hearing the news. The police party had to trek for 10 hours through thick jungles to reach the village, Raju said. The SP returned to Rajouri this evening.

No one has yet owned responsibility for the killings. �It is a remote villages on the edge of the district,� said Khan, who held a meeting this evening to review the situation.

The attacks continued unabated as militants hurled a powerful hand grenade on a police party in the main market at Awantipora in southern Pulwama district. Nine people � six policemen and three civilians � were wounded.

In Pulwama, militants shot and killed a special police officer identified as Gausia Bano.

Four mercenaries belonging to the Lashkar-e-Islamia outfit were killed and a jawan was injured in a joint operation of army and police in Nenmendhar area of Poonch today, a defence spokesman said.

The militants were on their way to Surankote when they were intercepted near Pathanpir around 3.30 pm.


Calcutta, Feb. 10: 
It was the �curse of the devil� that made him go berserk, said colleagues of R.D. Burma, who went on a sudden shooting spree at the airport early this morning.

The CRPF jawan is now battling death in the intensive care unit of SSKM Hospital.

Burma, who was transferred to Calcutta from Arunachal Pradesh only a week ago, would often tell his colleagues that there was a curse on him which was keeping him away from his family in Tripura.

�He kept telling us he wanted to leave for home in a day or two but a tribal djinn was preventing him from meeting his family,� said a jawan who did not want to be quoted. �It was then that we suspected perhaps something was wrong with him.�

The jawan said Burma believed in �all kinds of superstitions� and felt strongly about some kind of a malefic �supernatural power� working against him.

�In the few days that I interacted with him, there seemed to be something obsessive about him, something that I just can�t put a finger on,� he said.


Calcutta, Feb. 10: 
A CRPF jawan went on a shooting spree at the Calcutta airport early on Saturday, killing two policemen and injuring two before turning the gun on himself.

The jawan, R.D. Burma, and the policemen are in hospital. Burma�s condition is stated to be stable.

The incident, the first of its kind at the airport, took place at the arrival wing of the international terminal at 2.50 am. All passengers except one, who had arrived by the British Airways flight from London shortly after 1 am, had left by then.

Witnesses said Burma had struck up a conversation with a colleague when he reported for duty around 11 pm on Friday. The two paramilitary men were talking about going on leave and visiting their families. There was nothing unusual about Burma�s demeanour, officials said.

Around 2.45 am, P.K. Dey, a subsidiary intelligence bureau officer, was going through the papers of Sanjib Basak, who had arrived by the British Airways flight. Dey had spotted certain discrepencies in Basak�s travel papers and was questioning him. Basak had been sent back from Heathrow airport after some anomalies were found in his visa.

Burma was then standing near the entrance. Suddenly, he walked up to the immigration counter, shouldered his rifle and shot at Dey. The bullet hit Dey on the right arm. Shocked, an injured Dey dived behind the counter. Basak began running for his life. It was then that Burma fired the second shot, hitting sub-inspector Ilyas Mondal (37), who fell to the ground with a bullet wound on his left chest.

Burma then fired three more rounds. One of the bullets pierced sub-inspector Mahadev Roy�s (52) chest. The bullet exited his body and hit B. Pal, an inspector of Calcutta Police, on the right leg. Both Pal and Roy had come out from behind the immigration counters to find out what was going on.

Burma then went to the apron gate where he shot himself in the abdomen, but it was a blank. He then walked towards the cargo gate, where he placed the rifle butt on the ground and shot himself again in the stomach. He slumped to the ground, bleeding profusely.

Jawans coming in for the next shift spotted Burma. They put him in the van they were travelling in and took him to the SSKM Hospital.

A sub-inspector of Calcutta Police, Abhas Ghosh, who witnessed the incident, said: �One minute there was peace and quiet, the next there were bullets flying all over the place. It was horrible and gruesome.�

The airport staff summoned the duty doctor to the immigration area. According to the acting airport director, N. Kaushal, the doctor administered first-aid after which the four policemen were taken to hospital in two ambulances.

Roy died on the way to the NRS Hospital operation theatre. Mondal was pronounced dead at the SSKM Hospital. Both Pal and Dey were admitted to SSKM with Burma. Burma was operated upon. A tight security ring has been thrown around the ward where he is admitted.

Superintendent of police at the airport O.P. Gupta said it seemed as though Burma had taken aim and fired. �We are completely baffled why he should have done such a thing,� he said.

Airport security was beefed up today with more policemen deployed in the passenger arrival and departure areas.

One of Burma�s colleagues recalled that while joining for night duty at 11 pm on Friday, Burma was told by another jawan from Tripura that he would be leaving for home to meet his family.

�This ma y have suddenly upset Burma as he was desperate to go home on leave,� the jawan said. �This loneliness may have snapped something in his mind.�

But senior CRPF officials disputed this �streak-of-insanity� theory. They said something else might have �provoked� the jawan. �Burma was totally fit, both mentally and physically, when he took over night duty on Friday,� said deputy inspector-general Anil Kumar. �I have spoken to a lot of people and they all say that in the last few days they had noticed nothing unusual about him.�

Kumar said in the four hours that Burma was on duty, �something must have happened� which led him to take such drastic action. �Maybe it was a dispute with immigration officials.�

But R.K. Gupta, deputy commissioner, security control of the Calcutta Police, ruled out the possibility of a dispute. �There was absolutely no possibility of an altercation or provocation in the immigration area,� he said. �This is an attempt to pass the buck on to Calcutta police for the irresponsible behaviour of the jawan.�




Maximum: 29�C (0)
Minimum: 13.7�C (-2)



Relative humidity

Maximum: 86%
Minimum: 43%


Mainly clear sky. Minimum temperature likely to be around 14�C
Sunset: 5.25 pm
Sunrise: 6.16 am

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