Eleven minors, all in their early teens, were rescued as they were allegedly being herded to a Maoist training camp, security forces have claimed. A Maoist, Motra Chaki alias Samuel, who was taking the children to the camp, has been arrested.
“Among the 11 children we rescued, five were girls and the rest were boys. The fact that they are using minors in armed conflict is a glaring violation of children’s rights,” said NK Singh, police superintendent, West Singhbhum.
Police said that during his interrogation, Samuel had said that his leader, Prasadji, had specifically asked for young girls to be brought to the camp.
“Girls are used as a source of entertainment. They are trained to take care of male cadres and cook,” said the source.
Nearly six months ago, the police had rescued 11 other children in a similar manner from a village in Latehar district.
HT had, then, launched a campaign against the inclusion of minors in Maoist training.
Speaking to HT from an undisclosed location, CPI Maoists Bihar-Jharkhand-North Chhatisgarh regional area committee secretary, Deenbandhu had categorically denied that they were training children for war.
However, they have accepted the existence of ‘bal dastas’ – a children’s force. Indoctrinated at a young age, these children are initially engaged as informers as they are being trained as guerillas.
In its 2013 report, the United Nations expressed concern over the killing of children who are recruited as human shields by Maoists.