Darjeeling: Thousands of students studying in boarding schools here were being moved to the plains as the agitating Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) allowed a 12-hour window on Friday.
“We have given a 12-hour window from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., so that school authorities can ferry the students to the plains. It is not a relaxation of indefinite shutdown. This is a special arrangement for the students only. Everything has remained shut,” party’s Assistant General Secretary Binay Tamang said.
Thousands of students studying in the schools here are from many states. They even come from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong.
“We are going to home in summer and monsoon vacation. We were stranded in the schools because of the strike…we are happy,” a student from Patna said.
“The relaxation is for students so that they can leave the town safely,” Tamang added.
Amid the ongoing shutdown called by the GJM which is spearheading the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state in the North Bengal hills, normal life in the town has been paralysed.
The Darjeeling impasse is likely to continue as the GJM is set to intensify its protests.
In fact, the GJM leaders along with the other hill parties and main opposition parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India-Marxist and Congress boycotted the state sponsored all party meeting held on Thursday.
“We will resign from GTA soon,” Tamang said.
The fresh controversy erupted as the GJM and other political parties complained about “a blackout of news” in the region as the telecast of several national and regional news channels along with internet services was interrupted in Darjeeling and Kalimpong district.
The opposition parties said the suspension of internet service and of the telecast of all the national, regional news channels in the region was against the right to information.