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Darjeeling unrest: GJM offers 12-hour ‘window’ on Friday to schools to evacuate students

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The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) today offered a 12-hour “window” on June 23 to the schools in the Darjeeling hills to evacuate their students safely to Siliguri and Rongpo.

“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. 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,” senior GJM leader Binay Tamang said.

He said barring school buses, no other vehicle would be allowed to leave the hills during the 12-hour “window”. An indefinite bandh was called in the hills by GJM on June 15. With supplies running out and the vacations to start shortly, the renowned boarding schools of Darjeeling are facing a harrowing time due to the shutdown.

Amid the indefinite bandh in the hills of Darjeeling which entered its ninth day on Wednesday, police fear that the arrest of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurang may further escalate the violence.

Gurang has been hiding at different locations since the day his office cum residence was raided, and some party activists were arrested.

Though police are making all attempts they fear that his arrest could lead to more tension in the hills. Police fear that his arrest would turn him into a hero.

“The state government doesn’t want to take chances to arrest him,” said a senior intelligence official.

However, the GJM leader said that Gurang is safe and the hell will break out if he is arrested.

“I will fight for Gorkhaland until the last drop of my blood,” said Gurang in a video message recorded before the raids.

Security forces were patrolling the streets and Internet services remained suspended for the fourth day on Wednesday. Except pharmacies, all other shops remained closed.

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