In a move aimed at undoing the damage inflicted by the Dr Raman Singh government’s promotion of the Salwa Judum movement, the Congress government in Chhattisgarh has decided to reopen schools in the extremist-affected Sukma district of Bastar region after 13 years of closure. The move comes as part of chief minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel’s attempts at initiating confidence-building measures in the tribal population of the region.
Salwa Judum was a militia movement launched in 2005 to tackle the growing Naxal violence in the state. Though, backed by the then Congress leadership it has been facing opposition from several quarters, including human rights groups. The chief minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel, when he was in the opposition, had repeatedly expressed his strong opposition to the Salwa Judum movement. Sources stated that as part of the first phase of the project, five educational institutions and hostels have been reopened and made operational this Monday, coinciding with the start of the new academic new year in the state.
Bastar region has been facing violence during the operation of Salwa Judum; villagers evacuated their villages and started living in relief camps, while most were left deserted, sources stated. Students from the region used to study in nearby port cabins, as no schools were operational due to Salwa Judum.
Sources also pointed out that several were also used by security forces in the area due to Maoist extremism.