Government school teachers of bordering villages in the Majgavan area of MP’s Satna district have lodged a case against Uttar Pradesh dacoit gangs that are allegedly threatening them for the last few months. Earlier, the teachers had refused to file a police complaint fearing threat to their lives and instead written to the higher authorities seeking transfer to safer areas.
The teachers were skipping school and gone into hiding fearing attack after a section of them received letters from dacoits demanding Rs 25,000.
Cluster principal or sankul pracharya of Majgawan, Dhiren Singh, who is in-charge of 104 government schools in the area, told HT that some teachers had written to him seeking transfer or better security before they went into hiding.
“We searched for them (teachers) so that the matter could be brought before the authorities. After much effort, we tracked the teachers and reported the matter to the police. The police have filed a case and are patrolling the area regularly,” Singh said. He added that teachers were still afraid as they are “apprehensive that angry dacoits will punish them” for reporting the matter.
Dacoits from UP and some from Madhya Pradesh are active in the 50 to 60 km bordering belt in the district, between Kalinjer and Dabora. Several teachers have been kidnapped for extortion in the past. The dacoit gangs use the forest in the belt to hide. They seek food and water from the local villagers.
Additional superintendent of police (ASP), Satna, Rameshwar Yadav told HT over phone that the teachers agreed to lodged a case after much convincing. “Over two dozen police personnel have been directed to regularly patrol the area where the schools are located. In general, we have already increased our patrolling in the critical areas of the district where dacoits have been known to operate or hide,” he said.
Yadav said three dacoit gangs from Uttar Pradesh have been frequenting the bordering areas of MP, which is locally called the Tarrai. “These three gangs are of Babli Kol, Gauri Yadav and Shiv Narayan Patel,” he said.
A dacoit, carrying a cash reward of Rs 80,000, was killed on November 2 last year, while another criminal, carrying cash reward of Rs 30,000, was arrested last month.
‘Schools can’t be shut over fears’
In a letter to the higher education authorities, two teachers of Taagi government school in Majgawan area, Kunjlal Prajapati and Shivkumar Mawasi, claimed: “Because of the activities of the dacoits we are not able to perform our duty...They are demanding Rs 25,000 from us. In case we don’t (pay), they have threatened to kill us.” HT has a copy of the letter. Satna district education officer (DEO), KS Kushwaha, told HT that the education department had filed a complaint with the local police, which was investigating the matter. “Teachers are afraid of dacoits in this particular belt. But we have to run schools. We can’t close the school because of their fear,” he said. Senior police officials in the district have also indicated that some teachers could be writing the letters themselves to avoid work or seek transfer from the area.