During the subsequent protests, youngsters appealed to Maoists not to misuse their uniforms. The protesters, from 11 schools, have also urged the rebels not to brainwash schoolchildren into working for them.
In 2012, Maoists dressed as schoolchildren carried out six violent attacks in Bijapur and escaped, police said. Police managed to arrest three such disguised rebels later.
Bijapur, about 350 km south of capital Raipur, is a hotbed of Maoist activity.
The uniform for boys in the district’s government schools is navy blue shirt and dark blue half pant.
“The uniforms are mostly distributed free to tribal students. The Maoists may be forcibly acquiring it from students or getting them made. Getting such uniforms is not difficult,” Bijapur SP Prashant Agrawal said on Sunday.
Police are facing difficulties tracking down such disguised rebels because many of them are young, between 14 and 22 years old.
“Maoists are dressing up youngsters in their jan militia (people’s army) in school uniforms to gather intelligence and also carry out violent attacks,” said a police officer.
“A sustained crackdown by security forces has left the Maoists little space to manoeuvre and they are using this tactic.”