Posted on September 29th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

The Hindustan Times newspaper said the Communist Party of India, popularly known as the Maoists of India have borrowed the idea of child conscription to their army from Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

According to an item published by the Hindustan Times they have imitated the Tamil Tigers by recruiting children as small as nine years.

The Hindustan Times said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Ajay Kumar, son of a labourer in JharkhandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Lohardagga district (in India), was only nine in 2004 when security forces nabbed him from a Communist Party of India (Maoist) hideout. The little boy told the police that he joined the camp for a few hundred rupees, food and clothes.

The report further said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Early last year, Maoists told people in Malaida village in Rajnandgaon district, about 80 km west of Raipur in Chhattisgarh, that each family should send one child to the organisation. Around 200 villagers ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ including 50 children ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ fled to a relief camp.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

Like the Tamil parents in Sri Lanka who violently opposed the taking of their children the Indian report said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-When the extremists declared they need our sons and daughters, I was frightened and left Malaida the same night,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ said Phirtu Bisai, a tribal farmer.

As India is planning to take back 223 districts out of 625 from the Maoists the report said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-the large presence of child combatants, many of them girls, has become a concern for the governmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

Telling that Maoists are studying the setbacks suffered by the LTTE to take lessons the report said, A Maoist document, Post-Election Situation, Our Tasks, said: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The setback suffered by the LTTE has a negative effect on the revolutionary movementƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦ The experience of the LTTEƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s setback in Sri Lanka is very important to study and take lessons.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

The report further added, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-But the Maoists are trying new tactics. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The Maoists have made a tactical change to counter security forces, where teenagers and women fight from the front rank,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ said Brig B.K. Ponwar, Director of Jungle Warfare & Counter Insurgency College in Chhattisgarh.

He said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The extremists have created Jan Militia (peopleƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s army) that includes Bal Sangam (childrenƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s collective), for attacking the security forces while the main cadres guide them from behind. The attacks in the last few years in Bastar had shown this,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ said R.K. Vij, Inspector General of Police, Chhattisgarh.

The report further said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Over the last three years, 25 children have been arrested in Jharkhand. In just one district of Chhattisgarh over the last two years, nine children ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” seven of them below 16 years ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” have been taken into custodyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

WhatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s more, medical examinations of the girl recruits also revealed that they were subjected to repeat sexual assaults.

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