The killing of 52-year old Dibakar Mahato, the headmaster of a Salboni primary school who was shot by Maoists on Saturday, was the latest in the targeted killings of teachers in West Midnapore district of West Bengal.
Since June 2009, when security forces were deployed in the district to wrest control from the Maoists, the rebels have killed nearly 30 teachers. In most cases, the Maoists suspected the teachers were CPI(M) members or sympathisers.
There are 144 higher secondary schools and hundreds of primary schools in Jhargram subdivision of which Maoist stronghold Lalgarh is a part.
None of them observed Teachers' Day on Sunday.
"We would never shut our school on Teachers' Day earlier," said Shankar Chandra Pal, headmaster of Ramkrishna Higher Secondary in Lalgarh.
"Of 1,400 students, around 150 turn up for classes, which are held only thrice a week," Pal said.
"There are bandhs every week. Who can think of Teachers' Day in this environment?"
IG (Western Range) Zulfikar Hassan said, "Teachers are soft targets since all schools cannot be protected..."