Children being used by Maoists in propaganda war

November 10th, 2008 - 9:57 am ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Nov 10 (IANS) Children as young as 12 are being recruited by Maoist rebels in Jharkhand in their propaganda war against the government and security forces. At least 300 children are being trained by the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) group and also being provided training in small arms, police say.The CPI-Maoist is preparing a Child Liberation Army (CLA), according to police reports. The CLA children are trained by the Maoist organisations to turn into hard core rebels. The children inducted into the CLA are between 12 and 18 years.

The state intelligence department has alerted authorities in Maoist-affected districts to be alert and prevent children from joining the CLA. According to police sources, the CLA members are being trained in the bordering jungle areas of Dhanbad and Giridih districts of the state. These children are trained to collect information about the movement of security forces and pass it on to the outlawed group.

“The Maoist rebels use children in their propaganda war against the government and security forces,” S.N. Pradhan, spokesperson of Jharkhand Police, told IANS. “It is human nature for people to pay attention to the talk of children. The propaganda war is launched through drama and other methods by gathering people in villages.”

He said: “In Maoist organisations, the desertion rate is high among youth in the age group 20 and 30. Youth are able to gauge the designs of the rebels.”

“Children are vulnerable as they can be brainwashed by anyone. Maoists tune the minds of the children according to their requirement,” he said.

According to police sources, there are six Maoist groups in Jharkhand. The CPI-Maoist is the only organisation that is inducting children in large numbers.

Maoists are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. In the last seven years, more than 1,300 people, including civilians and Maoist rebels, have been killed.

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