FROM THE BAT­TLE ZONE

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page -

It’s mostly the pri­mary and sec­ondary school teach­ers who face the ire of the po­lice or Maoists as th­ese schools are lo­cated in re­mote or dense for­est ar­eas. If they travel from cities to th­ese re­mote lo­ca­tions the Maoists think they work as po­lice in­form­ers and, on the other hand, “the po­lice think that we work with the Maoists be­cause we man­age to go to the in­te­rior ar­eas with­out be­ing harmed,” says a teacher from Ja­gar­gunda near Dan­te­wada in Ch­hat­tis­garh.

Two months ago, he was ac­costed by four armed Maoists while he was on his way to school. “My school is about a few kms from Ja­gar­gunda. Even the po­lice are ap­pre­hen­sive of com­ing in here.

I cy­cle to school ev­ery day. That day I was about to reach the school when th­ese peo­ple came to me and asked if I in­form the po­lice about their move­ments. I pleaded in­no­cence. They let me go on the con­di­tion that if I am sus­pected do­ing any such thing in the fu­ture, I will not re­turn to my city alive,” he re­counts. “There are times when Naxal groups pass by school and through mere co­in­ci­dence the po­lice ar­rive min­utes later search­ing for them. The Nax­als think that we have in­formed the po­lice about their move­ments,” he adds.

Col­lege and univer­sity pro­fes­sors say that they do not have to face such threats as the in­sti­tutes of higher learn­ing are lo­cated mainly in the cities which are much safer than the vil­lages. De­spite that, how­ever, life is not that easy. “Stu­dents try to scare us, telling us that they have links with the Maoists if we don’t al­low them to cheat in the ex­am­i­na­tions. A stu­dent had threat­ened me of dire con­se­quences be­cause I had stopped him from copy­ing an­swers dur­ing an exam,” says a pro­fes­sor from a col­lege in Dan­te­wada.

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