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

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Jee­van Prakash Sharma

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

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