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Destroyed by Naxals 13 Years Ago, Bastar Schools to Start With a Clean Slate After Govt Push

The schools are reopening as the Chhattisgarh government pushes its influence further and deeper into the former Maoist-ruled pockets. The state industry minister recently inaugurated middle and high schools in Abhujmad and Sukma.

Raunak Shivhare | News18

Updated:September 4, 2019, 8:06 AM IST
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Destroyed by Naxals 13 Years Ago, Bastar Schools to Start With a Clean Slate After Govt Push
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Bastar: For the last 13 years, children in Bastar's Abhujmad area were deprived of education because their schools got destroyed in the Naxal-led violence.

But after more than a decade now, the schools are reopening as the government pushes its influence further and deeper into the former Maoist-ruled pockets. The state industry minister, Kavasi Lakhma, recently inaugurated middle and high schools in Abhujmad and Sukma.

According to sources, starting from 2003, Naxals are estimated to have destroyed 86 schools in this area in a period of three years, which is often referred to as that of 'Red Terror'. While the area has remained cutoff from successive governments, even the British which tried to but couldn't even prepare land revenue surveys in this area, it still did not pose problems for the state.

It was only after the rise of Naxalism in the area which started nearly one-and-a-half decades ago, and the merger of PLGA with PWG which gave rise to today's CPI (Maoist), that the area really became hostile to the government and state forces.

On August 23, state forces for the first time in many years were able carry out a successful strike against Maoists in the Abhujmad area. Five Naxals and automatic weapons were seized from the spot of encounter 19 km from Orchha in Naryanpur district. This was the second successful strike for anti-Naxal forces in this month.

While the government has begun reaching the outskirts of this Maoist-infested area in South Bastar's Naryanpur district, it still is wary of the influence that Maoists still hold here. Senior police officials believe the area is a safe haven for the Maoists, of which around 200 are estimated to be here, including 30 top leaders.

Abhujmad is the place where most Naxals are expected to flee to after carrying out strikes in areas like Sukma, Bijapur and Dantewada. Since it is largely cutoff from the mainland, this is also the area where Maoists are understood to be training their cadre in arms handling.

It is only in the last 15 years that anti-Naxal operations have started to get success in Abhujmad, which has remained a no-go zone for the state forces.

In a recent interview, DGP, Chhattisgarh Police, had said, "For the last three years, we had been trying to enter their deep core area and it is for the first time that we managed to conduct an operation. It was a training camp of company number 1, which is the first and the most important barricade of Maoists in Abujhmad. They have a four-tier security. In 2016, there were around 10,000 Maoists. As of today, there are around 1,000 cadre and 5,000 supporters. In 2019, we recovered 59 dead bodies, and perhaps killed more. Out of them, 38 were wanted leaders. But we do believe that Naxalism can’t be resolved only by killing. That is why we also insist on surrender and go for as many arrests as we can."

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