United Nations, June 30: Terrorist groups operating in Kashmir and Naxalites are recruiting children, according to a report by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who urged the Indian government to act against those recruiting children. Guterres’ Children in Armed Conflict report covering 2017 identified Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen as the groups using children in their armed campaign in Kashmir.
It said: “The United Nations continued to receive reports of the recruitment and use of children, including by the Naxalites, particularly in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Naxalites reportedly resorted to the use of a lottery system to conscript children in Jharkhand.” It added: “In addition, three incidents of the recruitment and use of children were reported in Jammu and Kashmir in the context of clashes with national security forces. One case was attributed to Jaish-e-Mohammed and two to Hizbul Mujahideen.”
Guterres said he would “encourage the government to put in place measures to hold perpetrators of child recruitment and use to account and engage with the United Nations in view of ending and preventing violations against children”. Overall in India, the report said, “Children continued to be affected by incidents of violence between armed groups and the government, particularly in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and during tensions in Jammu and Kashmir.” “Children continued to be killed and injured in the context of operations of national security forces against armed groups,” the report said. It said that according to government data, 188 civilians were killed in Naxalite-affected regions but a break up of how many of them were children was not available.
In Kashmir, the report cited one case, that of a 15-year-old boy “killed by national security forces” during a clash with alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba elements in Padgampora village in Pulwama district. Guterres said he welcomed India signing the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention in June 2017. (IANS)