The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) empathising with the students of the boarding schools in Darjeeling, provided them a 12 hour window from 6 AM to 6 PM, for them to be moved out of the disturbed areas and move to the plains of Siliguri and Rongpo. Darjeeling’s boarding schools have students from many states, some are even from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong. The GJM’s assitant general secretary Binay Tamang is reported to have said that this time frame should not be taken as a sign of relaxation in the indefinite shut down but it is in consideration of the students of the various boarding schools in Darjeeling for whose convenience this window of relaxation has been provided, such that the school authorities are able to shift all the students away from the disturbed areas of the region. “We are going home for the summer and monsoon vacation. We were stranded in the schools because of the strike… we are happy,” a student from Patna is reported to have told one of the reporters.
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. Students too have joined the movement. Lancy Pradhan, a college student, said college can wait, “even for a whole year”. She is on the streets not because she supports a political party but as a 22-year-old Darjeeling native, she believes Gorkhaland is her right. “We want the government to protect us. We want our rights to be taken into consideration. We want Narendra Modi to pay attention to our condition,” she was quoted as saying.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung and 43 others resigned from the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) on Friday. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said, “In the indiscriminate firing on protesters, the troops killed three of our supporters. And then the West Bengal Police leveled police complaints against the GJM, which just does not make sense, and goes to show that the administration is not taking such incidents seriously.”
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.