Chhattisgarh Maoists recruiting minor girls: Police

January 14th, 2009 - 11:54 am ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Jan 14 (IANS) Maoist insurgents in Chhattisgarh are recruiting minor girls as part of a stepped-up drive to get members for a women’s wing, say police.The Maoists, who run a de facto administration in the state’s vast southern mineral-rich Bastar region, are trying to get cadres for the Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangh, said a senior police officer.

“Maoist militants are now on a stepped-up drive to recruit minors, mainly female adolescents, because it’s easier to brainwash them,” Pawan Deo, a senior officer at the police’s special intelligence branch (SIB) here, told IANS.

“The forced recruitment drive in the Bastar hinterland is now basically to fill up hundreds of slots vacated due to mass desertion of Communist Party of India-Maoist cadres due to relentless police pressure and exposure of the myth of Maoist ideology,” he claimed.

Vishwa Ranjan, the state’s police chief, had earlier said that roughly 10,000 highly militarised insurgents operate in Chhattisgarh, backed by another 35,000-40,000 cadres called ‘Sangham members’.

“Some 30 percent or 15,000 of a total of 50,000 armed rebels are female insurgents who actively participate in carrying out major strikes against civilians and police forces,” said Ranjan, who was additional director in the country’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) before he became state police chief.

All five districts in the 40,000 sq km Bastar region have witnessed a string of deadly attacks on police bases and civilians since June 2005 when a government backed civil militia movement, Salwa Judum, was launched to take on militants in two districts - Dantewada and Bijapur, the nerve centre of militants’ since early 1980s.

In March 2007, the rebels launched their biggest attack so far, killing 55 policemen in an overnight attack on a police outpost in Bijapur district.

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