Manipur on high alert as rebels continue child abductionsJuly 26th, 2008 - 1:28 pm ICT by IANS
Imphal, July 26 (IANS) Authorities in northeastern India’s Manipur state have sounded a high alert with militants continuing to abduct children to swell their ranks, forcing the police to set up task forces and monitor suspicious movements in front of schools, officials said Saturday. The unprecedented trend of insurgent groups luring or forcibly taking children away to join their ranks began in May and despite public demonstrations by parents and civil society groups against the practice, kidnappings have continued, creating panic in the State ravaged by insurgency for decades.
“About 30 or more children are believed to be missing from different parts of the Imphal valley although many cases have not been reported to the police. So far, 13 cases of abductions have been registered,” Manipur police chief Y. Joykumar Singh told IANS.
All the children, either reported kidnapped or missing, are in the age group of 11 to 16. While four of them have returned, the rest are still untraced.
“This is a dangerous development and we are bent on tackling and putting a halt to this action by the militants,” Joykumar Singh said.
The police chief said instructions have been issued to frisk all vehicles at checkpoints and monitor suspicious movement of vehicles or people near educational institutions.
“We have directed the police to keep vigil over bailed out rebel cadres and over-ground sympathisers of militant groups and also to liaise constantly with schools,” Singh said.
The police have set up special task forces in four districts in the Imphal Valley - Imphal West, Imphal East, Thoubal and Bishnupur - to deal with the problem.
Joykumar Singh rejected claims by the concerned rebel groups that many children have joined them of their own volition.
“Police investigations have revealed that the children have been forcibly taken away and made to join the outfits,” he said.
The two insurgent groups who have admitted or been identified as inducting children in their ranks are the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (vice-chairman faction) and the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (general secretary faction).
One of the PREPAK factions had recently paraded six children before invited journalists and claimed they had willingly joined the group.
The police chief said the rebels are recruiting “child soldiers” because “they can no longer find older or mature youth” to join them.
Manipur has up to 19 active insurgent groups pushing demands ranging from secession to more autonomy.
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- Arms seized in Manipur District - Feb 01, 2011
- Naked protest by Manipur kids against rebel abductions - Jul 29, 2008
- Four nabbed for possessing arms cache in Manipur - May 02, 2010
- PLA militant arrested in Imphal - Dec 29, 2010
- Manipuri militant nabbed - Feb 16, 2012
- One killed in Manipur blast (Lead) - Jan 22, 2012
- Blast outside Manipur speaker's house, one killed (Second Lead) - Jan 22, 2012
- Grenade blast hits Congress office in poll-bound Manipur - Jan 05, 2012
- Manipur insurgents coming together: government - Aug 09, 2011
- Nine militants killed in Manipur encounters - Dec 24, 2009
- Manipur voters fearful after series of blasts - Jan 23, 2012
- State commandos rescue abducted youth in Manipur - Jul 25, 2010
- Northeast groups call for I-Day boycott - Aug 11, 2011
- 57 militants surrender in Manipur - Dec 16, 2011
Tags: cadres, checkpoints, child abductions, civil society groups, educational institutions, imphal, insurgency, insurgent groups, kidnappings, manipur state, militant groups, northeastern india, police chief, police investigations, public demonstrations, rebel groups, suspicious movements, task forces, vigil, volition