Sikkim students return from Siliguri

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Gangtok, June 14 (UNI) Scores of Sikkimese students, caught in the escalating ethnic violence in Siliguri following the demand for a separate state Gorkhaland, returned to the state, leaving the future of their higher education in uncertainty.

Official sources said here today that the students arrived from Siliguri in two Sikkim government buses after they were allegedly roughed up and threatened by the members of the Amra Bangali and Jana Chetna, the two associations which had called a 48-hour bandh in Siliguri against the division of West Bengal.

''We were beaten up and forced to shut ourselves in our rooms during the violence,'' a law student Kushal Chettri, studying in North Bengal University (NBU), said.

Another student Yogesh Gurung said, ''Many of us, including students from Darjeeling, could not attend our B Com examinations due to the violence.'' Several Sikkimese students are still stranded in Siliguri and they will also be returning soon, the sources informed.

Meanwhile, the anxious students met Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and informed him about their plight.

The Chief Minister assured to take up the matter with the Centre and West Bengal government, the students said.

Stating that the educational system and students should be left out of the politics, the students demanded protection from the concerned authorities as they had courses to complete and examinations to attend in different colleges of Siliguri under the NBU.

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