Maoist extortion fear shuts down Bihar school
Apr 2, 2007 - 2:00:12 PM
Patna, April 2 - A government school in Bihar's Aurangabad district has remained shut for over six weeks after Maoists demanded money for allowing construction of its new building.
The four school teachers, including the principal, have not visited the school at Ursumbha village in Aurangabad, about 120 km from here, out of fear to their lives after failing to pay the money demanded by Maoists, police said Monday.
Maoists had demanded Rs.30,000 from the teachers to allow construction of the new building. The teachers said they would not be able to pay up. 'But the Maoists threatened to kill the teachers if the money was not paid, forcing them to flee,' district education officer Chandrasekhar Lumar said over phone.
'Big locks are hanging on the wooden door of the school. The education of over 250 students of the school has been affected,' an official said.
'In the absence of permanent teachers, three panchayat - teachers have been taking classes in the open ground in the school premises,' he said.
A police complaint was lodged but no action taken, a villager alleged, adding that the district administration has also not bothered to intervene.
Aurangabad is one of four districts in south Bihar and regarded as a stronghold of the Maoists.
'Fear of Maoists and their unchallenged support base makes them feel like kings in the area,' a district official said.
In rural Bihar, complaints of Maoist extortion demand during construction and developmental work is common, often forcing stoppage of projects.
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