Siliguri, Aug. 16: Schools across the Darjeeling hills were open today although few students attended classes that were held after over 12 days.
Since the beginning of the month, classes in several hill schools, including some top-notch institutions of the country, were affected after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha issued a diktat urging boarders to leave the hills in view of the indefinite strike.
“The percentage of day scholars was less today compared to the other days. So far as boarders are concerned, only a handful of them who are from other countries have stayed back in the hostels. Those who left for home have not returned,” said a source.
No classes were held at Darjeeling Government Boys’ High School and in St. Roberts’ High School in town, only classes from IX to XII were held today. Paramilitary forces are stationed in the two institutions and sources said the school authorities had urged the administration to shift the forces elsewhere so that classes could be held.
“The challenge of the state administration is to ensure that schools continue to function from Monday as the strike, maybe in a different name, would continue for another five days till August 23,” said a senior teacher of a Kurseong school.
Morcha and some other hill parties have called for a strike, ghar bhitari janta, from Monday.
“It has also to be seen if the administration can win the confidence of the school authorities by deploying security forces and taking some other steps so that schools can continue to remain open during the strike,” said the teacher.
The Darjeeling police have issued an advisory to the schools on its official website. Titled school security advisory, it has been mentioned that the school authorities are requested to take the safety and security measures at the earliest. The measures include increase in the number of security guards, installation of CCTVs at the entrance, exit and corridors and directives to students to memorise phone numbers of parents or guardians.