Bhutanese youth studying in Darjeeling are home safe, but their worries are far from over

At his home in eastern Bhutan, Wangchuck Thukten constantly watered with his smartphone, checking the news and updates of social networks on the situation in Darjeeling, where an indefinite closure of the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland is in force For almost a month.

The 20 year old student – a student of Bachelor of Business Administration at Kalimpong Government College, located in the city of Kalimpong in this hill region of West Bengal – went to his house on June 22

It was one of hundreds of citizens of Bhutan, most of the students and Buddhist monks, who were evacuated from Darjeeling by Bhutan and representatives of the Government of India after the Gorkhaland movement became violent in mid-June, given as Resulted the death of three demonstrators in police firings.

Wangchuk does not know when he will return to college or if he wants to risk returning to such an unstable situation. He heard friends say that the strike could be lifted before July 17, but there is no confirmation. “I have feelings right now,” he told Scroll.in. “I want to go back to college and continue my studies, but I’m afraid if the situation gets worse when we get there.”

This is the dilemma facing the large community of Bhutanese students attending schools and universities in the hills of Darjeeling.

Little by little, as the closure continues, many of these students, living away from home and in rented housing, lack food and money while shopping and ATMs were closed. No transportation available, they could not get out of the hills.

“Everything was closed and no place seemed safe,” recalled Kinley Yangchen, a student at Rockvale Management College, a private institute in Kalimpong. The 21-year-old – who has now returned to Bhutan now – said she and her friends knocked on the doors of tents, asking them to sell food.

An internet stop made things worse. “Our fear began to grow when Internet and mobile networks went down and we could not even get in touch with our parents and the government,” he said.

Finally, more than a week later, representatives of the Government of India have stranded the students on buses and sent them in Siliguri, Bengal a northern city in the foothills of Darjeeling, under security escort.

In Siliguri, they were given to government officials in Bhutan and escorted by Indian police in Phuenthsholing, a city in Bhutan, on the border with India. “We are delighted to see the door of the country and representatives of the Bhutan King’s Office waiting to receive us,” Yangchen said.

Another student who made the trip home added: “Our government has paid bus fares for all and organized food for us.”

At home, Yangden, attending a private school in Darjeeling, said: “I like being here with my parents, but I also worry about my studies and my future. If the line of Darjeeling is prolonged, it will affect many of us. ”

It is also Kinley Yangchen’s biggest concern. With only a year and a half of his current tourism management four years, said: “I could not get off the road or go back to college in this situation.”

When the problem began, Yangchen was half of his exams. “At first, it was assumed that the strike would end in a matter of days, as they did all the time in India, but when it continued for many days, we were caught in fear,” he said, adding that he had the opportunity to Finish your exams

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