Patna, March 20 : In Bihar's troubled Maoist zone, police are coaching for free over 2,000 students to help them crack competitive exams. Wards of jailed extremists too have joined the classes, said a police officer.
The rural girls and boys in Rohtas district are being trained by experts from different fields to crack engineering, medical and banking exams. Rohtas, about 150 km from here, is considered a Maoist stronghold.
"Most of the students are from villages in the district and interior areas of Kaimur plateau. We are happy with the response of the students to prepare for a new opportunity," District Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj told IANS on phone.
Maharaj, who initiated the coaching programme, said 36 wards of Maoists lodged in different jails, had also joined the free coaching classes.
"This showed a change in the mindset of students in Maoist areas. It is a big surprise for us," he said.
Girls accounted for nearly 60 percent of the batches. "A positive development for us," Maharaj said.
He said the students are grouped in batches of 50.
The initiative to provide coaching free was under community policing, Maharaj said.
Another police officer, who is part of the initiative launched Jan 27, told IANS that classes were being held from morning till evening at a Central Reserve Police Force camp in Nauhatta village in Rohtas.
Maharaj said the coaching classes began with the help of alumni of Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), who come forward to coach students for free for engineering and medical and the Class 10 and 12 exams.
He said some former IIT students have agreed to help police teach the students in Maoist areas.
Last year, Kaimur's Superintendent of Police (SP) Umashankar Sudhanshu used Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan's photo in a poster exhorting youth from rural areas to enlist into the security forces and join the Maoists. Bachchan later objected to the use of his photo without consent.