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28 Jun 2017

Hill Net ban worry in admission season..ban till July 4

The ransacked office of the Bijanbari BDO
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, June 27: The Bengal government has decided to extend the ban on Internet services in the hills till July 4, worrying parents looking to admit their children in colleges elsewhere.
The Darjeeling administration had suspended Internet services on June 19, days after The Telegraph reported that Gorkha Janmmukti Morcha leaders had been circulating their strategies through WhatsApp. The Net services were supposed to resume today.
"We have decided to extend the ban till July 4. But if the situation improves, we might resume the services on an earlier date. The clampdown has restricted rumour-mongers and brought some semblance of calm in the area," said Darjeeling district magistrate Joyoshi Dasgupta.
Parents looking to admit their children in colleges elsewhere said the extension of the clampdown had deepened their worries.
"My daughter has applied in several colleges in Calcutta and Bangalore. But with the ban on Internet services, we are in total darkness. If this restriction continues, I will have no option but to go down to the plains to complete the formalities," said a Darjeeling resident.
Even for those planning to go to Siliguri, finding a vehicle to ferry them is another major problem.
"None of the vehicles here are willing to risk plying to the plains during the strike. We have to rely on the few buses that the administration is running," the person said.
The Net shutdown has prompted some residents to flock to some vantage points where feeble signals from neighbouring Sikkim can be received.
The Morcha, however, said it was little worried about the ban on the Internet.
"We are anyway getting overwhelming support for our agitation. This ban on the Internet hardly matters to us. But it's the common people who are getting affected. Access to the Internet is a basic right," said Morcha assistant general secretary Binay Tamang.
As the strike entered its 13th day today, sporadic incidents were reported from Takdah.  A mob of suspected Morcha supporters vandalised the official car of the BDO of Bijanbari, L. Talukdar, and ransacked his office.

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