More than 50 Bhutanese college students studying in Kalimpong, West Bengal are still stuck and are unable to return to their colleges because of the ongoing Gorkha Janmukti Morcha  (GJM) agitation in the hills.

About 57 Bhutanese students studying in Kalimpong’s Government College (GC) and seven in Rockvale were escorted to Phuentsholing in June following the GJM agitation. Another group was escorted later.

Many students did not attend their practical examinations and returned home.

A final year student of GC College in Kalimpong, Thukten Wangchuk, who is in Pasakha currently, said, he is worried with the strikes getting prolonged.

“We are about 20 students waiting to go to college,” he said, explaining there could be some students going for new admissions. “There are some from other colleges.”

Thukten Wangchuk said he contacted a professor in his college, who informed him that the situation could improve this month.

“However, he told us to come only when the situation improved,” he said.

Department of Law and Order’s (DLO) director, Tashi Penjor said it was not advisable and safe for students to travel at present. Although counterpart officials had informed DLO about a week ago that the unrest in the hills could improve, it has not been the case for the last two to three days, Tashi Penjor said.

“The situation changes suddenly and it is difficult for officials there or here to predict,” the director said.

DLO office also maintained that the parents of students should continuously get in touch with school authorities to assess about the situations in Darjeeling and Kalimpong.

Meanwhile, on August 2, five Bhutanese class XII students and one class X student studying at St Joseph College in North Point in Darjeeling started their classes at Matigara in Silliguri.

This offsite arrangement was made by the school management for those appearing board exams.

However, there are still about 20 students starting from class three to class nine studying in St Joseph. They are still in the country.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) agitation sparked off in June this year after the West Bengal government announced hill schools to compulsorily include Bangla language, which was strongly objected by the people.

About 10 GJM supporters are reported to have died in the clashes with the police.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing