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We are true nationalists, Bihar's Maoists tell kids

By M I Khan
April 03, 2010 12:11 IST
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In an open letter to the children of Bihar's Aurangabad district, Maoists have apologised for attacking their schools, four months after hundreds of students urged them to stop destroying their educational institutions.

After targeting 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.

"Maoists distributed a letter to school children in which they apologised for targeting schools in rural areas," police officials in the Naxal-hit districts of Aurangabad and Gaya told rediff.com.

The letter was issued on behalf of the Sone-Ganga -- Vindhayanchal zonal committee of the Communist Party of India - Maoist.

In the letter, Maoists claimed that they were 'forced' to target school buildings as these were being used by central paramilitary forces to launch operations against them. In a reference to Operation Green Hunt launched by the Centre, Maoists told the school children that the government plans to turn all schools into 'camps of security forces' in the coming months.

Maoists tried to justify their attacks on schools by saying that they were necessary to protect these 'children's forest, land and mountains'.

The letter also claimed that the Maoists were true nationalists who were 'fighting to save the country'. The Left-wing extremists asked the children to decide who was more dangerous to the country -- those looting it or those opposing the loot.

Last December, the school children whose education had been severly hampered by the Moaists' attacks on their schools, had written an open letter to the extremists.

"Maoist uncle, what is our mistake that you blow up schools to deprive us of education? You may have problems with police uncle, but we are not your enemy. What is our mistake that our schools have become a soft target for you," the children had pleaded in their open letter.

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

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M I Khan in Patna