Bhutanese students studying in Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal, India are running out of rations with shops remaining closed due to the on – going Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) protests.
President of the Bhutanese Students’ Association and a final year student in Kalimpong, Namgyel Dorji said he finished his examinations four days ago, while some students completed writing their examinations more than a week ago and have been staying indoors.
He said it has been two days since the cellular network has been down.
“The ATMs also don’t work although we have money in our accounts,” he said. “I have to come out in rare occasions to inform friends.”
The student president, however, said that their situation in Kalimpong is okay and that the students are adjusting.
“The office of the Department of Law and Order has been in constant touch with us,” he said.
Another student Thukten Wangchuk in Kalimpong also shared similar story of exhausting rations and unusable ATM machines. Internet services in the two hill stations have also been disrupted as the state government has directed all the network and broadband providers to block the services.
Meanwhile, the Bhutanese students will complete their ongoing examinations by June 30. Most of them have already written their papers and are waiting to come home.
There are currently eight students in Darjeeling’s St. Joseph College. They will complete their examinations by June 28, the office of Department of Adult and Higher Education (DAHE) in Thimphu told Kuensel.
Many have already returned from Darjeeling as their exams were completed in March and April this year, before the GJM protests started.
DAHE office also confirmed that there are not many students registered with DAHE in Darjeeling. However, there are 62 students in Kalimpong registered with the department. Officials said the examinations in Kalimpong could be expedited and concluded by June 24.
Drungkhag officials in Phuentsholing have earlier said that once the examinations are over, the students will be escorted home safely. DLO, home secretary, and Phuentsholing drungkhag administration are constantly in touch with the students.
Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing