An otherwise-quiet community centre of a Roman Catholic religious order, some 5 km from Siliguri, in North Bengal, has recently taken up a new role.
From last Wednesday, it started functioning as an off-site school for students of Classes 10 and 12 of a reputed century-old school from Darjeeling, 62 km away, run by the same religious order. In all, 90 students, 78 of them boarders, have started classes. The school authorities decided to make this arrangement for students facing board examinations next year as the ongoing shutdown in the Darjeeling hills is showing no signs of being withdrawn anytime soon, and schools remain suspended indefinitely. The general strike called in the hills in June in demand for a separate Gorkhaland state has brought normal life to a standstill for more than 50 days now.