New Delhi: The National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued notice to the Orissa government
seeking a report within four weeks on allegations that schools
have been converted into barracks to take on villagers
opposing land acquisition.
Taking suo motu cognizance of a media report, the NHRC
asked Chief Secretary and Director General of Police of Orissa
to submit their reports.
The media report had claimed that police have occupied
most of the school classrooms at Badagabapur village in Orissa
and converted these schools into their fortresses to fight the
anti-land acquisition villagers opposing the government move
to hand over land to the South Korean Steel company POSCO.
The Commission observed that the contents of the media
report, if true, raise a serious issue of right to education
of children of Orissa and in particular in Jagatsinghpur
district, near the proposed POSCO steel plant site.
"The students are scared of going to schools because
of the arms stocked by the police on the premises and most of
the students are not going to schools near the proposed POSCO
Plant due to presence of the policemen," the Commission quoted
Moreover, it said, the media report alleged that
regular teachers have also not been provided by the Government
in most of the schools in the State.