West Bengal: Maoists teaching lessons, recruiting in schools

 

Students protest police occupation of West Bengal schools.

 

Express India, October 16, 2010

Maoists Bring Red Practical and Theory to Schools

Kolkata: To influence the young minds, Maoists have started teaching lessons on Maoism in government schools that are located in the remote areas of Junglemahal. In last week of September, the headmaster of Bagmundi Higher Secondary School in Purulia had received a letter from the Maoists asking him to send all the students of classes X, XI and XII to a training camp in the area.

Nibaran Chandra Mahato then showed the letter to the members of the school committee who decided not to disobey the Maoist diktat and allowed the students of class XI to take part in the training, said a senior police officer.

“We have information that a Maoist came and taught lessons on Maoism to more than 300 students in the school,” said the officer. With reports about more and more schools becoming centres of Maoist indoctrination classes, the administration in the three LWE-affected districts — West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura — are grappling over how to tackle the serious problem.

“Our team have gone to Bagmundi and spoke with the management of the school. We are investigating the matter,” said Rajesh Yadav, SP of Purulia. Bagmundi lies in the vicinity of Ayodhya hills, an area where the Maoists have been gaining strength. Reports from state and central intelligence agencies indicate that most of the training camps run by Maoists are located in Bagmundi and Narayanpur police station areas. These include Batdanga, Asanboni, Kumardanga, Barodanga, Dumuria, Choto Rajera, Simulbera, Dhadka, Chingora and Kalabera.

Besides Purulia, schools in Sarenga-Goaltore border have become cadre recruitment centres, say the police. Baro Garrah school in Khayerpahari under Sarenga police station tops the list. This school has produced Maoists cadres like Bikash, the area commander, Sobha Mandi and Sushil Mandi. Though Sobha surrendered before the police a few days ago, the trio held significant posts in the Maoist squad.

Raju Hansda, a Maoist squad member who was arrested a couple of months ago from Lalgarh, has admitted to visiting several colleges in the district with the aim of recruiting cadres. “Raju was assigned to pick up ‘like-minded’ students from several colleges. He visited colleges in Bankura, Silda, Jhargram and a famous college in Hooghly district as well as a prominent college in Kolkata from where he brought cadres to the Junglemahal,” said a police officer.

Significantly, the school in Lalgarh where Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee held his first public meeting has produced Maoists like Sasadhar Mahato, a state committee member and PCAPA chief Chhatradhar Mahato.

According to the interrogation report of Telegu Deepak, a close associate of Kishenji, senior Maoists leaders used to take classes in the schools of Lalgarh, Sarenga and Binpur for indoctrination purpose. There are reports that students (class VIII, IX and X) of Rana Rani school in Belatikri area and Ranibandh School in Bankura are often given training by the Maoists in the forest areas, said the officer.

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