In Jail For Being A Maoist, This IIT-Dropout Is Now On His Way To Become A Lecturer
Arnab Dam, a Maoist who was arrested in 2012 and is now in Presidency Jail in Kolkata, on Sunday appeared for the State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) examination, which allows one to become a lecturer in state-run colleges. Dam was a member of the banned Communist Party in India (Maoist) and was arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in 2012 in connection with the Silda camp Maoist attack on the Eastern Frontiers Rifles in 2010.
The IIT-dropout turned Maoist
40-year-old Dam, the son of a retired judicial magistrate, was a mechanical engineering student at IIT-Kharagpur. He studied there for three semesters until he dropped out to join the Maoists in 1998, said a report by Hindustan Times.
Dam became close to east’s senior-most Maoist, Kishenji, alias Koteshwar Rao, and was active in Purulia and areas adjoining the Bengal-Jharkhand border. After Kishenji was killed in 2011 by security forces, Dam had to reorganise the Maoists in the border area, and a 34-member platoon was headed by him in Bengal. In the Silda Maoist attack, for which he was arrested, 24 EFR personnel were killed. He was arrested with an AK-47 rifle, some cartridges and two magazines with him.
Although he had 31 cases against him, apart from the Silda attack case, Dam was acquitted or granted bail in all the others.
Dam’s education from jail
From jail, Dam has acquired first divisions in both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, reported India Today. He has also applied for a PhD in several universities.
Ajoy Ghosh, Dam’s lawyer, informed that Dam will also take another test to qualify as a lecturer at the national level, three days after December 15, following a bail plea in a court in Midnapore.
“I hope he clears both exams. He was a good student before he quit,” said Dam’s mother Kalyani Sarkar Dam.
According to human rights activist Ranjit Sur, there are other Naxals who once served as prisoners but are now college lecturers, however, doing so well from jail is truly exceptional.
“If the court wants, Dam can also be granted parole to teach,” said Officer on Special Duty to the Bengal correctional services department, B.D. Sharma. “The administration will act as per court order,” he said. Sharma added that he is personally very pleased as education is more fulfilling than anything else.