FROM THE BATTLE ZONE
Here’s a tribute to the thousands of teachers who bravely defy death to reach their students in the violence-prone Maoist areas
Young students of a primary school in Salboni, Midnapore, (West Bengal) will not forget the eve of Teacher’s Day three years ago. Armed Maoists raided the school, dragged their beloved headmaster Dibakar Mehto out of the classroom and shot him dead. Unable to do anything they watched in horror, screaming for help as he bled to death.
The shadow of terror looms over many schools today in Naxalite and trouble-prone areas such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa. Many teachers there have lost their lives for the cause of education.
“Maoists suspect us of being police informers. They think that we inform the police about their whereabouts and movements,” says a teacher from a primary school of Midnapore. He doesn't want to be quoted in the story fearing that he may be targeted for speaking to the press. What is worse is that the police, too, suspects them of being Maoist sympathisers.
“A few months ago, the police arrested 12 teachers in Lohardaga in Jharkhand as they were suspected to be working for Maoists. It's very common. Quite often teachers are tortured and jailed. We are caught in a peculiar situation. Both the