The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on Wednesday offered a 12-hour window on June 23 to various schools in the Darjeeling hills to evacuate their students to Siliguri and Rongpo, The Indian Express reported.
“The central committee of our party has decided to offer a 12-hour window, from 6 am to 6 pm on June 23, to the schools in the hills to evacuate their students,” GJM Assistant General Secretary Binay Tamang said on Wednesday. “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,” he added.
Tamang said besides the school buses, no other vehicles would be allowed to leave the hills during the 12-hour window.
The indefinite strike called by the GJM entered its seventh day on Wednesday. Darjeeling is home to some of the oldest boarding schools in the country. The schools, and other institutions like zoos, are facing problems because of the shutdown as supplies are on the verge of running out, reported The Times of India.
“We are facing two problems presently. One is of the supply of food stock and another is of sending the students home,” Rabindra Subba, the principal of Himali boarding school, said.
Violence had recently broken out in Darjeeling after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. Though she had said that hill districts will be exempted from the rule, the GJM began an agitation that soon turned into a revival of the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.