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8 Jul 2017

Schools told to remain shut till July 18 meet

TNN, 7 July 2017, KOLKATA: The authorities of 50-odd prominent schools in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, which were supposed to re-open from Monday, have decided not to do so in the midst of the strike. Schools have reportedly been told by the strike supporters to keep gates shut at least till the next all party meet on July 18. Parents have already been informed about this.

Meanwhile, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) youth wing said it would start road classes in the entire Hills region from Saturday to educate students about the ongoing statehood movement and the need for a Gorkhaland state.

Registrations of the pre-ICSE and pre-ISC candidates were supposed to be over by July 31. Schools had planned to appeal to the Delhi Board, that runs these two exams, to allow them breathers or call all students to Siliguri for their registrations. However, all such decisions will be taken after July 18.

"We are in the mercy of politicians and the fate of at least 4000 students who are supposed to write their board exams in 2018 from the Hills hangs in balance. We really don't know who to appeal to," rued Robindro Subba, director of Himali Boarding School. "For others, we will have to make several arrangements after we reopen schools, including taking classes on Saturdays and shortening the Puja holidays," he added.\

School heads said in case of earlier stand-offs, they jointly met Bimal Gurung, the GJM chief, and appealed him to keep schools out of the purview of strike. "This time he is nowhere to be found. We don't know where the leaders are. We are feeling helpless," said the principal of another reputable school.

"We have no choice but to keep schools closed. We are following instructions of those who have called the strike. It is a painful situation but we are helpless..." said Father Kinley Tshering, provincial of Jesuits in Darjeeling and former principal of St Joseph's North Point.

GJM sources said the road classes on Gorkhaland will be organized mainly in the town areas of Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik and Kalimpong. "It's part of our programmes lined up to achieve the statehood demand," said Bhaskar Rai, vice-president of the Gorkha Janmutki Vidhyarti Morcha.

(With inputs from Deep Gazmer)

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