Darjeeling stir: As protests continue to cripple day-to-day life for the seventh consecutive day, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Wednesday gave a 12-hour window, on June 23, to various schools in Darjeeling hills to evacuate students from the building. In a statement to PTI, GJM leader Binay Tamang said: “The students will be allowed to go to Siliguri and Rongpo only in school buses. The indefinite shutdown will continue. Only the students will be allowed to leave safely.” Earlier, news agency Asian News International had reported that the strike has forced around 528 boarding students of 128-year-old St. Joseph’s School to stay on campus with many day scholars unable to attend school. Utsav Thapa, a student, said that student are safer inside school premises, however, they are forced to take two exams in a day in place of one. Speaking to ANI, Thapa said: “We are safe inside. We used to have one exam a day, after the strike, we are forced to take two exams a day.”
Indian Express had on Monday reported that hundreds of students studying in schools of Kurseong and Kalimpong in Darjeeling are stranded in their campuses and the authorities are concerned about running out of food stocks very soon. As per a the report, many of these stranded students are from Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Hong Kong, Bhutan, besides other parts of India. On Tuesday, GJM, which is spearheading the Gorkhaland agitation, passed and resolution and decided that the shutdown would continue until security forces were withdrawn.
The worried parents of these students are also trying to reach out to thei children. “We panicked when we saw on TV teargas shells bursting in front of the school and vehicles being burnt. We usually speak to our son every Sunday, but we couldn’t call him this weekend because the examinations are on. We are yet to talk to him,” Sanjoy Roy, father of a Class 11 student at St Joseph school told IE.