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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

In a first, jailed Maoist passes test for lecturership in Bengal

Dam was an inmate of the Presidency jail in Kolkata when he wrote the test on December 2, last year. He now has to clear an interview to be eligible for a job in a college.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2019 22:35 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times, Midnapore
Dam is currently lodged in a jail in Hooghly district where he got the result on Thursday.
Dam is currently lodged in a jail in Hooghly district where he got the result on Thursday.(PTI/ Representative Image)
         

Jailed Maoist leader Arnab Dam (40) has passed the State Eligibility Test (SET) that takes him past the first step of eligibility to get a job as a lecturer in a state-run or state-aided college in West Bengal. Dam has become the first person in the state to pass this test from behind bars.

Dam was an inmate of the Presidency jail in Kolkata when he wrote the test on December 2, last year. He now has to clear an interview to be eligible for a job in a college.

“We have got a letter from my son today in which he has written that he has passed the exam. The credit is entirely his,” said his mother Kalyani Sarkar Dam.

“I am glad Dam passed the test. Though I cannot comment much due to the model code of conduct, let me point out that since the government allowed him to appear for the exam, the administration will ensure fair play in the later stages (interview),” said Bengal correctional services minister Ujjal Biswas.

Dam is currently lodged in a jail in Hooghly district where he got the result on Thursday.

“Dam’s result is a remarkable feat. No one in the state has done it so far,” said Ranjit Sur, a prominent human rights activist.

“I am glad he cleared the test. However, on Wednesday, Dam told a Midnapore court that he does not need any lawyer,” said Dam’s advocate Ajay Ghosh.

Dam, an IIT-Kharagpur mechanical engineering dropout, who headed the 34-member guerilla platoon of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) in Purulia district of West Bengal during 2009-2011, was arrested in 2012 and has been in jail since.

The son of a retired judicial magistrate, Dam studied mechanical engineering at IIT-Kharagpur for three semesters before dropping out in 1998 to join the Maoists.

He was linked - among others - to the Maoist attack in February 2010 on a camp of Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) at Silda (in West Midnapore district) in which 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles personnel were killed.

Named in as many as 31 cases, he was either acquitted or granted bail in all of them except the Silda attack, for which sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) were slapped on him.

Sur said Dam now wants to pursue his PhD.

Last year, Dam completed his Masters degree securing about 70 per cent marks in history from Indira Gandhi National Open University.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 22:35 IST

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