Naxals misleading children in Jharkhand
To strengthen their numbers and to use them as human shields, tribal children continue to be misled by the rebels. In Pathari village of Lohardaga district in Jharkhand, which is a stronghold of Naxal outfit Thritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), school-going children are the main target of rebels.
The villagers disclosed that the TPC cadres compelled the children aged 13 to 14 years to join their outfit and strengthen their cadres. The rebels also exploit them as human shields against security forces, and use them to transfer their consignments. Ganesh Lal, a villager told ANI: “The Naxals are targeting children as they can be easily influenced to join the outfits. There are instances where rebels are recruiting children to prepare them for anti-national activities.”
Poor villagers, who have seen their children being snatched away, are reluctant to lodge any complaint with the police. They fear they will be attacked by the Naxals. There are several other villagers in Jharkhand
who are victims of Naxal atrocities. In one of the villages in Latehar district, the rebels have ordered each family to offer a teenager for their army.
Experts believe that illiteracy and poverty have forced many villagers to silently follow the orders of Naxals. One such expert, Kishore Kumar Verma explained: “The Naxals offer a monthly income and food to poor children and their families to convince them that what they are doing is in their favour. It is highly condemnable. These children should be in schools. However, will these Naxals let their kids join their outfits? I don't think so. Even Naxals are not allowing their children to be a part of their movement and are sending them for studies.”
Naxals across India are increasingly using minors as young as six to swell their ranks. These minors are groomed and trained in Naxal-dominated jungles and are assigned different roles. At an age where they are supposed to get education, these people are being conditioned so that they grow up as individuals who hate the State and cannot make up their own mind.