Over the last 15 years, children in Chattisgarh’s Naxal-affected areas have dreamt of holding a pen & paper in their hand. Their parents have aspired to give their children formal education but felt helpless due to various reasons, including Naxalism. In a ray of hope for these children, as well as the future of Chhatisgarh, over 260 government schools in four districts of the Naxal-hit areas reopened on Friday after more than one and a half decade.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announced the reopening of schools during the Shala Pravesh Utsav (school admission fest) and said that reopening of schools in Naxal-affected areas will strengthen the foundation of education. “The resonating sound of bullets will now be replaced by the sound of alphabets and bells in the villages,” he said, adding “the move will benefit local children, mostly tribals.” About 260 of these 400 schools are in districts like Sukma, Narayanpur, Dantewada and Bijapur. With the reopening of these schools, more than 11,000 students will get the benefit of education and take a step closer towards achieving their dreams.
The positive change in the Naxal-hit Bastar region has been brought about due to Chhattisgarh government’s three-pronged strategy of development, trust and security. Locals were overjoyed with the move to reopen schools as they had been insisting the authorities to ensure their children get access to education.
In the last couple of years, the Chattisgarh government has taken pro-active steps against Naxalism. The anti-Naxal movement has helped reopen schools that were closed in the area. However, journey continues as there are 400 more schools that need to be opened.