| Students form a human pyramid in Belhar on Thursday. Picture by Amit Kumar |
This Independence Day was one to remember for students of a government middle school in Belhar block.
Classes I to VIII students of Bagdhaswa Government Middle School travelled around 22km to Belhar police station for their first Independence Day function in the Maoist-hit district.
An ecstatic Suganti Hansdak of Class VI said: I watched the Republic Day parade on TV this year. I know only too well that students from remote areas I come from can never attend such functions in New Delhi. But yesterday, for the first time, I had the opportunity to participate in an Independence Day function organised by Belhar police station. It was grand.
Her classmate Ram Pravesh said: We never imagined we would get such a chance, that too from policemen.
The station house officer of Belhar police station and event organiser Manoranjan Bharati said: We dedicated this Independence Day function to students who came from remote villages in the block, where, till two years ago, the police did not dare visit. These villages used to be strongholds of Maoist zonal commanders Birbal Murmu and Babulal Hansdak. Our aim was to provide the students exposure and help them develop their skills.
The Bagdhaswa Government Middle School reopened last June on the initiative of Belhar police station and some youths led by Kanpur resident John Soren. The school had been closed for over four years for fear of Maoists.
But this Independence Day, students travelled 22km through kuccha and proper roads from villages like Bagdhaswa, Motiakur, Kijri, Mallh and Taranua, for the celebrations. They attended the flag-hosting ceremony and participated in cultural functions and games like musical chair, jalebi race and a football match.
The day ended with a grand feast after which police personnel gave away presents.