Islamic terrorists and Naxals are indoctrinating young children to wage war on Bharat
Bharat is a responsible democratic nation which strives for Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas. Irrespective of caste, creed, religion, language, everybody is equal. However, a systematic effort is being made, in a particular religion, to use children as weapons of war in Jihad and Naxal war against India. India’s Children Demography is 0–14 years 28.6% (male 190,075,426/ female 172,799,553) 15–64 years 63.6% (male 381,446,079/ female 359,802,209) (2009 est.) out of India’s 1.3 billion people.
Jihadis supported by Pakistan ISI, Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba to Al-Qaeda and Taliban to The Islamic State have built schools (Madrasas), created textbooks, and even developed phone apps, to “educate” children, shedding light on a surreal aspect of the terrorist organisation’s reach and strategy. They do have an app purportedly developed to teach children things like the alphabet, tanks and guns.
Afghan-British journalist Najibullah Quraishi shows how efforts by Islamic State (IS) to indoctrinate young children from the age of three, in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. In one scene, after herding a group of boys and girls into a room (Even girl children are not spared. They are ordered to sit at the back), the ‘teacher’ (fighter) conducts a dark and grim lesson.
“What is this word?” he asks the students, and himself answers the question without waiting for an answer from his students. “Jihad!”
“Jihad,” the children repeat after him.
“God says ‘wage jihad until idolatry and infidels are destroyed from the world.’ And then he tells a boy to stand up. “What is this?” he asks, holding a gun. “Kalashnikov.” “Why do we use this?” “To defend our faith.” “And whose heads will we hit with this?” “Kafir’s [infidel’s],” says the child.
It is said in India as many as seventeen militant factions use children as soldiers in Kashmir. According to a report from Conflict Study Center, child soldiers are used in Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir. States like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand have more Naxal presence and they use the children to wage war against the State. In Chhattisgarh State, it is estimated that up to 90,000 children are involved in the ongoing Naxal insurgency. The majority of children are used by militants. Nearly 118 districts in India are facing armed insurrection and that child soldiers are used in these conflicts.
Now United Nations chief Antonio Guterres in his ‘Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict’, which was released this month, expressed concerned over recruitment of children by terror groups such as Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba in Kashmir and by Naxalites in other parts of India. The report said the UN received reports of child recruitment and use of children in Jammu and Kashmir. “Five children, some as young as 14, were reportedly recruited by militant groups, including by Hizbul Mujahideen (two) and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (one).” Two other children joined Lashkar-e-Taiba. “In addition, reports of the systematic recruitment of children by Naxalites continued to be received,” the report said.
Recruitment of child soldiers starts when they go to madrasas, or Islamic religious schools, there they are targeted and selected. They provide military training. Indoctrination begins when boys are 6 years old; by age 13, they are capable of using firearms and IEDs. If the childrens are poor they provide food and clothing, and the parents may also receive payments in return for enrolling their children in the schools. Both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 9-year-old boys train to shoot AK47s, their parents receive salaries from the leaders, who also cover children’s food, clothing, and other costs. As in the Islamic State’s well-known “cub” camps, young boys in ISIL-KP strongholds are indoctrinated early and raised to form a jihadi generation. They are trained to whip prisoners, to behead infidels, to shoot. One teenage soldier for ISIL-KP had said “we saw a lot of people slaughtered. We also wanted to slaughter someone because we were told that this would bring us holy rewards from God.” Really worrisome is nearly 35 or more Islamic State textbooks are easily downloadable and ready to use in the dark corners of the Internet. Some are even in English.
According to a 2015 UN report, up to 40 per cent of child fighters are girls,
who are enlisted as suicide bombers, sex slaves for male soldiers,
weapon smugglers, or even for combat
According to a 2015 UN report, up to 40 percent of child fighters are girls, who are enlisted as suicide bombers, sex slaves for male soldiers, weapon smugglers, or even for combat. This clearly shows how vulnerable are childrens for Jihad. Pakistan ISI, Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba in Kashmir and by Naxalites in other parts of India are sourcing children to wage war on India as children can be easily indoctrinated and they are less vulnerable.
At last one can say that the use of child soldiers by non-state actors is a violation of the Geneva Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Not only United Nations but India has to take very aggressive stand on using children for Jihadi and Naxal war on India. For now the war is on. How India saves its children from this jihadi and Naxal ideology will be seen in the coming days. The way they are using children as a weapon of war against the country is very worrisome.
(The writer is a political analyst and columnist)