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Lalgarh: Netai massacre haunts village students

Last Updated: Monday, January 31, 2011 - 10:50

Kolkata: Residents of Netai village near the Maoist hotbed of Lalgarh, where nine villagers were gunned down on January seven, are still to get over the shock with the worst hit being the students preparing for their exams.

Apart from affecting normal life in and around the village in West Midnapore district, the brutal killings have left the students so traumatised that they were hardly able to concentrate on their studies at a time when the board examinations are knocking on the door.

Sarbani Ghorai, whose mother, Saraswati, was among the nine who fell victims to the bullets fired from an alleged CPI-M armed camp at the village, told a news agency that she was unable
to come to terms with the reality of her pathetic existence.

"The Madhyamik (Class X) examinations are starting from January 23 and I am still unable to concentrate on my studies. Everytime I try to do that, the horror of the incident clouds my mind," Sarbani, a student of the Lalgarh Girls` High School, said.

Sarbani said she had talked to her teachers about her problems, but all of them while sympathising with her had only one thing to say - forget and concentrate.

"How can I do that?" she said almost in a complaining tone.

She said all her family members take shelter in a single room at night constantly fearing attacks by the `harmads` (goons), but it is impossible to study in that condition.

"During the day we all come out because we have to, but at night we huddle into a room all the time fearing for our lives," says Sarbani.

Her plight is shared by 30 other Madhyamik students at Netai.

"I cannot study and I do not know what will happen to my future," Pradip, a student of Lalgarh Ramkrishna Vidyalaya who hails from Janapara at Netai, said.

It is not just the fear factor that is hampering the studies, their precious time is also being wasted in giving accounts of the incident to politicians and administrative
officials who are making a beeline to the place.

"We have to go to Burotallachowk, the centre of the village, and narrate our experiences. Mamata Banerjee, Manas Bhuniya, Governor NK Narayanan or even Election Commission
observers all heard our versions. And that hampers our studies," Subhas Mondol said.

Another student said they cannot venture out of the village for taking tuitions even at daytime as "we cannot risk becoming targets of armed attacks".

West Midnapore district Superintendent of Police Monoj Verma said, "We have set up a camp in the village and law and order has improved. We are trying hard to bring back


First Published: Monday, January 31, 2011 - 10:50

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