Nation

Darjeeling Strike Day 7: GJM Asks Schools to Evacuate Students

June 21, 2017 10:07 PM

The central committee of our party has decided to offer a 12-hour window, from 6 am to 6 pm on 23 June, to the schools in the hills to evacuate their students. 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 said barring school buses, no other vehicle would be allowed to leave the hills during the 12-hour window. Darjeeling is home to some of the oldest and renowned boarding schools in the country. All shops remained shut and internet services remained shut on 21 June, the seventh day of the GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling.

The police and security forces patrolled the streets of the hills and police pickets were placed at the entry and exit routes of Darjeeling. Except pharmacies, all other shops, hotels and restaurants remained closed.

An all-party meeting convened by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), on 20 June, passed a resolution that the shutdown would continue until security forces were withdrawn. A delegation of GJM also met Union minister Kiren Rijiju who was in Gangtok for World Yoga day and submitted a two-point memorandum demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.

The GJM, spearheading the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland, also decided to withdraw from the tripartite accord on the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). There were reports of some tea garden workers being beaten up by GJM supporters in Naxalbari area, 65 km from Darjeeling. GJM, however, denied the reports.

The GJM took out small rallies in various parts of the hills demanding a separate state. Locals termed the suspension of internet services an "oppressive step against a democratic movement". The parties also decided not to participate in the 22 June all-party meet called by the West Bengal government to discuss the prevailing situation in the hills.

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