Maoist guerrillas have apologised to students in Bihar for damaging their school buildings and affecting their education.
"Hundreds of copies of the apology have been distributed among schoolchildren. We told them that we were sorry for targeting their schools. We also told them what forced us to target their schools," a Maoist leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The letters, written in Hindi, were distributed by the rebels of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) on behalf of the Sone-Ganga-Vindhayanchal zonal committee in their strongholds.
"The damage to schools has affected students' education. We regret the action as this created trouble for the children. We were forced to target the school buildings as they were being used by the central paramilitary forces to launch operations against us," the Maoist leader said.
Also, in a reference to the ongoing Operation Green Hunt, the Maoists informed the children that the government plans to turn all schools into camps of security forces in the coming months.
"The central government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram sold forests, land and mountains to foreign companies at the cost of depriving local people. Maoists are opposing it and will continue to oppose it," the Maoists said in their letter.
Maoists claimed that they were fighting to save the country and were real nationalists.
In December last year, hundreds of poor school children in Aurangabad district appealed to Maoists not to damage or target their schools.
"Maoist uncle, what is our mistake that you blow up schools and deprive us of education? You may have problems with the police but we fail to understand why are we your enemy. What is our mistake that our schools have become a soft target for you?" the school children wrote in their letter to the Maoists.
A police officer here admitted that after railways and mobile towers, schools in rural areas have become the soft target of Maoist guerrillas in Bihar. "Maoists have been targeting school buildings fearing that these buildings were used by central paramilitary forces."
The rebels targeted five schools in Kaimur and Rohtas districts in the last one week.
According to police, more than 25 school buildings were blown up by the Maoists in different districts in the last one year. At least 10 school buildings were blown up or badly damaged in Aurangabad, Gaya, Rohtas and Jehanabad districts which are the worst Maoist-affected districts.