Schools have finally opened in the Naxal-dominated area of Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh following 16 years of continuous efforts, the district administration has said.
Rajesh Agarwal, District Collector, Bijapur, said, “Many schools were destroyed by Naxals in the last 15-16 years. 116 schools will be opened this year, benefitting over 2,800 children. The children from Pedda Jojer, Chinna Jojer and Kamkanar villages of Bijapur block can acquire education now”.
The administration faced obstruction from Naxals during the construction of roads as many security personnel were killed in the process, the district collector added.
Zakir Khan, Block Education Officer, said, “The most difficult part was to establish a conversation with the villagers. The government decided to create a network so that students could get the right to education. 900 students are enrolled today in 14 schools in the block”.
Khan further stated that in 2004-05, after the rise of Salwa Judum against Maoists in Bastar, Naxalites targeted school buildings in the interior areas of Bijapur, Dantewada, Sukma, Narayanpur. During this conflict, more than 300 schools were destroyed in Bijapur. These include Pedda Jojer, Chinna Jojer, Kamkanar villages, where the Maoists targeted schools.
Last week on August 10, the Naxal-dominated village of Bijapur received electricity after 30 years. The village is over 500 kilometres away from the capital city Raipur. The natives of the village were deprived of basic amenities as the area fell under Naxal violence after 1980. The region now has roads, Anganwadi centres, primary healthcare, and a ration shop. Many villagers migrated from the region due to violence created by Naxals.
Earlier, on April 3, 2021, in an encounter with Naxals, 22 soldiers were killed, and 31 injured. The encounter took place in a forest of Tekulagudem and Jonaguda near the Naxal dominated village.