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Since 1st March, 1999
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Rebel threat shuts school

Imphal, Jan. 5: A militant threat has forced guardians to withdraw their wards from the hostels of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya at Khumbong in Manipur’s Imphal West district.

Sources said a militant group had demanded Rs 3.5 lakh from the school’s authorities earlier this month and had set today as the deadline for payment.

Two militants visited the school on Wednesday and told the teachers to pay up on time, they added.

When news of the militant threat reached the guardians, they started flocking to the school to get first-hand information and discuss the situation with the authorities.

Today, they held a meeting on the school campus to review the “tension and uncertainty” that has prevailed in the school for the past week.

However, the school authorities refused to discuss the situation with them in the absence of principal N. Dhiren Singh, who is on an academic tour outside the state.

Most of the guardians then decided to take their children away.

“I don’t want to keep my son in the hostel in this situation. I will bring him back as soon as the school arrives at an agreement with the militants and normality is restored,” a parent said.

Over half of the 500 boarders living in the boys and girls hostels of the school left today, even as the other students continued to stage a sit-in to demand restoration of a normal academic atmosphere.

The students and the guardians are also worried as final-year exams for Class X and Class XII are scheduled to begin on March 1.

Some teachers have been staying away from class while others have not been able to concentrate because of the militant threat.

Police said the school authorities had not lodged any complaint with them. A police officer, however, said they had received information about the threat and had beefed up security at the school.

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