With the indefinite bandh in Darjeeling hills entering its ninth day today, residents and labourers were seen leaving the area. The indefinite strike was called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for a separate Gorkhaland state.
The GJM had announced an indefinite strike encompassing Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts and the Dooars protesting against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's decision to make Bengali language compulsory in state-run schools. The strike was not called off even after Banerjee stated that the new rule would not be imposed in the hill districts. The protesters are also asking for a separate Gorkhaland, a long pending demand of the people of the hills.
Earlier in the day, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung claimed that the West Bengal Police are illegally entering their supporters' houses and torturing them and also accused them of killing two of his supporters. He said that GJM would further strengthen their agitation.
Darjeeling is home to several renowned boarding schools such as St Pauls, St Josephs and Goethals. With schools shutting down, these residential schools are also sending back students to their homes. The GJM announced later that schools would be given additional time to evacuate.
The academic calendars of schools is under threat of derailment with the protests intensifying. Schools had earlier shut down during the agitations in 2007 and 2013.
With inputs from ANI
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