Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Maoists blow up school

SHAHNAWAZ AKHTAR
Pirtand (Giridih), April 20: Maoists blew up a school at Pirtand, about 34km from the district headquarters, late yesterday night, but spared a part of the building so that classes were not disrupted.

With the second phase of polls only 72 hours away, Maoists are making themselves heard, and this time in their hotbed — Khukhra village under Pirtand police station.

The Maoists, about 40-50 in number, had visited the Khukhra Middle School (established 1906) on Saturday night, warning villagers of blowing it up. They had put up posters criticising the police of camping in an educational institution before the polls. The school will be housing two booths — 301 and 302 — for the second phase of polling. The police have been camping on the premises for some time.

After blowing up a major part of the school in two blasts, the Maoists stayed there for a few hours and wrote slogans on the walls — Police aati hai aur school mein dera dalti hai, waah re waah (The police have taken over schools now); Kisi bhi vidyalaya mein police dera dalegi hum use udaa denge (Schools where the police start camping will be blown up).

The villagers are naturally disturbed over the incident. “Now, no one would come here to study, even my patience has failed. I have seen these incident five times,” said president of the Gram Shiksha Samiti, Bindeshwary Pandey.

Khukhra Middle School is important in the region as former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had addressed its students in 1981.

Two years ago, the school had got a new building. In 2006, the building was blown up by Maoists, after the police made it a regular picket. “It is happening because of the police. For the past few years there was no trouble and the school was also functioning smoothly,” the 89-year-old president said.

The new school had nine classrooms and a community centre. About 457 children from eight villages study here.

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