Darjeeling, Nov. 10: The annual examinations in hill schools will be deferred by at least a week to facilitate students’ participation in the movement for Gorkhaland being spearheaded by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The student agitation, which includes relay hunger strikes from tomorrow, is likely to continue till the third week of November when the tripartite talks on Gorkhaland are held in Delhi.
However, examinations of the primary section and selections for Classes X and XII board tests will be held according to schedule. With the annual exams being delayed, winter vacation in most schools is likely to start later this year.
The education institutes will be closed on November 13 to demand action against ABGL supporters who had allegedly pointed a pistol at a student rally brought out by the Morcha here on Saturday.
The decision to postpone the exam was taken at a meeting between the heads of almost 50 institutions and the Morcha leaders, including their chief Bimal Gurung, today.
“We had kept in mind the movement where students would be in the forefront,” said Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha.
The students’ wing of the Morcha has decided to start a relay hunger strike of college and school goers from tomorrow in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik. The details of the school students’ participation in the movement are being worked out.
Apart from the fast, a rally will be organised by the students in Kalimpong, Mirik and Kurseong on November 12, 13 and 17 respectively.
“Because of these events, the decision to postpone the exams for at least a week was taken,” said Giri.
Annual examinations in most schools in the hills start from November 17. However, institutions like St Joseph’s (North Point) have their exams (see chart) in December.
Basant Kumar Rai, the principal of Ramakrishan Siksha Parisad, justified the involvement of the students in the movement. “Students in the hills have no future. There are neither medical or engineering colleges nor a university in the hills. That is why we need Gorkhaland.”
Keshav Raj Pokhrel, the general secretary of the Morcha student wing, today said the inspector-general of police (north Bengal), K.L. Tamta, would not be allowed to enter the hills to “protect Madan Tamang”.
In response to a Morcha call, all DGHC offices were shut today. Last week, around 7,000 of its contractual workers started a pen-down strike demanding permanent jobs.
“The indefinite shutdown has been called not only to stop tenders but also to support the contractual workers’ demand for regularisation of work,” said Giri.
Most Group A employees of the council — mostly deputy magistrates with additional charges as executive officers of the DGHC —worked from their chambers located in the district magistrate’s office. (The Telegraph)