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, says the annual report of the UN Secretary General on children and armed conflict.
The report said the UN 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. 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-i-Mohammed and two to Hizbul Mujahideen. Unverified reports also indicate the use of children as informants and spies by national security forces, it added.
Children continued to be killed and injured in the context of operations of national security forces against armed groups. According to government data, 188 civilians were killed in Naxalite-affected regions, although no disaggregated data on children were available. On 9 March, a 15-year-old boy was killed by national security forces during a clash with alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyiba elements in Padgampora village, Pulwama district.
In Jharkhand, suspected Naxalite elements attacked a school in Khunti district, partially destroying it. With regard to military use, the occupation of over 20 schools was documented by the Central Reserve Police Force in Srinagar in April. Increased tensions in Jammu and Kashmir reportedly also led to school closures for varying periods, including in Rajouri (65) and Poonch (76) districts.