New Delhi, July 3: A recent report by the United Nations stated that naxalites have been recruiting and brainwashing children. While the report speaks about the recruitment of children, the fact is that this was being done in a bid to revive the Bal Sangams or the Children Liberation Army.
The reason behind the recruitment of children is to create a second rung of the naxal army. While the number of children recruited has come down, the Intelligence Bureau says that there would be attempts to spruce up the same in the wake of the naxalites facing heavy losses in terms of man and woman power.
Recruiting the young and innocent:
A typical recruitment process begins when the child is 6 years old. From the age of 6 they are brainwashed, taught about the ideology of the Maoists. By the time they turn 12, they are given arms training. The naxalites always felt that these children are their biggest assets.
While the recruitment of children is worrying the other cause of concern is the attempt being made to create the Child Liberation Army (CLA) by the naxalites. If the CLA becomes a success, then there would be a great deal of problems in the future. Not only is it hard to fight children, it also ensures that a future leadership is in the grooming.
The CLA is probably one of the most ambitious projects for naxalites. Children go undetected by the security forces. Moreover, if children are placed in front, then it becomes extremely difficult for security forces to fire at them.
The naxalites have put in place a process for children. They are picked out of their homes at the age of 5 or 6. Normally children who have lost their parents or are in poverty are chosen for the job. The naxalites pay off a minimal sum to the parents before they are taken into the Bal Sangams.
At the age of six, the ideology is drilled into their heads. They are then imparted training on how to collect information. The next round of training involves fighting with sticks.
Depending on how the child performs, they are sent to other departments such as village level associations and street theatre groups. The others who have an aptitude to fight are sent to gather information or into the armed squads.
Those children chosen to be part of the armed groups or the Dalams are training to use guns. Apart from this they are also trained in the use of explosives which include setting up land mines as well.
These children are then thrown into the battle front. The plan of the naxalites is to form the CLA so that the children form the frontal force while the adults stand at the back.
An official part of anti-Naxalite operations say that the children are caught between the devil and the deep sea. They have no choice and cannot leave. If any of them try leaving then the naxalites kill their parents.
An intelligence bureau estimate would show that at least 300 children are part of the training camp which aims to establish the CLA. The camps can be found in the Dhanraj and Giridh areas in Jharkhand.
A few years back Kartam Shankar who joined the naxals at the age of 12 surrendered before the police. He worked with the naxalites for 10 long years before surrendering. He said that he was promised the moon, but got no money.
He even went on to tell the police he had no idea what he was even fighting for. He was part of the Bal Sangam and now the police will use the information provided by him to fight the naxals who are desperately setting up the CLA.