Bhutanese students in Darjeeling and Kalimpong safe: Education minister

Despite the protest led by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) resulting to some unrest in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, Bhutanese students studying in the two districts are safe, the education minister Norbu Wangchuk said.

The protests led by the GJM had resulted in Gorkha supporters clashing with the police.

GJM protested after the West Bengal state government made the Bengali language compulsorily in all schools of the state. GJM objected the move.

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that the government is “closely monitoring” the situation. “We have our relevant authorities who are in touch with the counterparts in Darjeeling and Kalimpong.”

He said Bhutanese students are all safe as of now.

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk also said that there are officials students and parents could reach out in a case of emergency. “No incidences in regards to Bhutanese students in these two places have been reported,” he said.

He said there were no suggestions as of now to evacuate the students from the counterparts.

However, lyonpo insisted that the students must remain “indoor” as much as possible.

A Kalimpong resident, NK Pradhan said that the situation will normalise from today. “The strike started from 6am to 6pm yesterday,” he said. “Most problems of violence were reported in Darjeeling.”

A student in Kalimpong, Karma Wangdi, said that the college would reopen today.

“It was closed since June 8,” he said, adding that he stayed in the house. “It is safe here but I don’t know the situation in Darjeeling.”

Meanwhile, the superintendent of police (SP) in Phuentsholing, Wangchukla, said that the situation would normalise starting today.

“I called both the SPs of Darjeeling and Kalimpong,” he said. “They assured the situation will normalise.”

Police in Phuentsholing did not allow Bhutanese to travel to the two places. “We would first clarify the status with the counterparts and allow people to commute,” the SP said.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

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