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In Bihar, schools are soft target for Maoists

By MI Khan
April 02, 2010 18:47 IST
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After having targeted Railway property and police forces, Maoists now have schools on their radar. Maoists in Bihar have attacked nearly half a dozen schools in the last five days.

The attacks follow the initiation of Operation Green Hunt against them by the government.

In the last such attack late Thursday night, armed Maoist guerrillas blew up a government-run middle school in the rural Rohtas district, police said.

Rohtas Superintendent of Police Vikas Vaibhab said that dozens of armed Maoist guerrillas attacked the school at Yadunathpur village and blasted the building with dynamite.

Soon after the attack, the Naxals left a message on a blackboard stating that there would be more such attacks.

Only three days ago, armed Maoists blasted a primary school building at Dhansa village in the same district.

Maoists also attempted in vain to target a residential school at Soli in the district. The central paramilitary forces personnel had used the school as their camp during the Lok Sabha elections last year.

Last Sunday night, armed Maoists blew up two school buildings in Kaimur district and badly damaged buildings of a government and a private school at Dughdha village.

Kaimur Superintendent of Police P K Srivasatava said that local people requested Maoists not to destroy or damage the schools, but the rebels rejected their plea and told them to put pressure on the government to stop the offensive.

In reference to Maoists attacks on schools, Bihar DGP Neelmani told in Patna that Maoists had a specific strategy. They target schools buildings fearing that security forces would use them to set up camps.

"Maoists are taking advantage of the topography of Kaimur,Rohtas, Gaya, Jamui, Banka and Aurangabad districts bordering Jharkhand, whereby they can hide or take shelter after targeting school buildings.

Another police official said that by targeting schools Naxals were trying be in news and to create fear and terror among the people.

Maoists also rejected the appeal made by hundreds of school children in Aurangabad not to damage or target schools, as it would badly hit their education.

Last December, in an open letter to Maoists, the schoolchildren said: "Maoist uncle, what is our mistake that you blow up schools to deprive us of education? You may have problem with police uncle, but we are not your enemy. What is our mistake that our schools have become a soft target for you."

A few months ago, Human Rights Watch said in a report that Maoists routinely destroy school buildings, and also accused government security forces of occupying many schools while fighting the Left-wing insurgents.
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MI Khan in Patna