Jailed Maoist to write test for lectureship in Bengal today
The 40-year old has acquired a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in history from jail, securing a first division in both, and has applied to various universities to enroll in a PhD programme.Updated: Dec 02, 2018 11:55 IST
Arnab Dam, member of an armed squad of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) who was arrested in 2012 and is currently lodged in Kolkata’s Presidency jail, will on Sunday appear for the State Eligibility Test that will allow him to become a lecturer in state-run colleges.
The son of a retired judicial magistrate, Dam studied mechanical engineering at IIT-Kharagpur for three semesters but dropped out in 1998 to join the Maoists. He was active in Purulia and areas adjoining the Bengal-Jharkhand border and grew close to the senior-most Maoist in the east, Koteshwar Rao, alias Kishenji, who was killed by security forces in 2011. After Rao’s death, the task of reorganizing the Maoists in the border areas fell upon Dam. He also headed a 34-member platoon in Bengal. Dam was linked - among others - to the Maoist attack in February 2010 on a camp of Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) in Silda in which 24 EFR personnel were killed. When he was arrested in July 2012, an AK-47 rifle, two magazines and some cartridges were found on him.
Dam had 31 cases against him . He was either acquitted, or granted bail in all except the Silda attack, for which sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA ) were slapped on him.
The 40-year old has acquired a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in history from jail, securing a first division in both, and has applied to various universities to enroll in a PhD programme.
His lawyer Ajoy Ghosh said that Dam will take a second test to qualify at national level as a lecturer, three days after a bail plea in a Midnapore court on December 15.
“I hope he clears both exams. He was a good student before he quit,” said his mother Kalyani Sarkar Dam.
Human rights activist Ranjit Sur said there are other college teachers who are former Naxals and have served time behind bars. “But there is no example of anyone earning his degrees and passing eligibility tests to become a college teacher while in jail,” he said.
“If the court wants, Dam can also be granted parole to teach,” said Officer on Special Duty to the Bengal correctional services department, B.D. Sharma. “The administration will act as per court order. Personally, I am very happy. There is nothing more fulfilling than education.”