Surrendered Maoists reveal induction of minors in red brigade

Bhubaneswar: At a time, when the state government is intensifying its anti-Naxal operations, the alleged induction of a large number of children into the Maoist rank and file has come as a shocker for it.

Though this is not altogether a new phenomenon for the state, what has baffled the policy makers is that concerted efforts of the state government to check the children’s entry in the Red brigade has fallen flat even as the Maoists succeed in exploiting a large number of children taking advantage of their vulnerability like poor socio-economic condition.

Shanti Soya (14) and Radha (12) who have surrendered themselves before the Keonjhar police recently, revealed that there are so many other young Maoists in the camp among whom some are armed and trained to fight while some are engaged in entertainment activities.

“We were forcibly taken to the Maoist camp in 2008 while I was only 12 years old. We didn’t know then that we will get armed and fight”, said Shanti Soya, a surrendered Maoist.

Meanwhile, another minor Maoist who surrendered himself before the Jajpur police voiced that he was misguided and joined the terror camp.

“We had a rigorous training for one month where we were learnt how to position and operate guns like SLR and INSAS. Even I was given a pseudonym as Suresh and was not allowed to reveal the name details anywhere. We were strictly asked not to tell others about where we have come from”, said Jambuda Hembrum, another surrendered Maoist.

At such a tender age, when they are expected to be with their books, get armed with deadly weapons to fight. They get trained in the dense forests under strict administration of the ultras. Though they wish to return home, they find no way there to part with.

“They (Maoists) lure the children into the Maoists race. They even frighten them when needed, to join them and place arms in their hands forcing them for violence”, said Yashwant Jethwa, DIG police, western region.