The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday sought a report from the Jharkhand government over children being abducted and recruited as Maoist cadres.
Taking cognisance of a media report about children being forced into being Maoist cadres, the NHRC asked the Jharkhand government to submit a report within two weeks detailing the number of children so recruited as also the action taken by the administration in tracing and rehabilitating them.
Citing the May 8 news report, the NHRC said more than a thousand children have been abducted over the past few years and deployed as foot soldiers, couriers and sentries around Maoists' camps in Jharkhand.
"Children from Lohardaga, Gumla, Latehar and Simdega, the western districts of the state bordering the Maoist strongholds in Chhattisgarh and Odisha, are easy prey. In some districts, Maoists ask for five children from every village. The villagers have no option but to give in," said the panel quoting the report.
"The child soldiers are initiated into violence through execution of brutal punishments pronounced in the Maoists' jan adalats. Murder is the most important rite of passage. Female victims experienced sexual abuse by the Maoists," it said.
In its notice to the Jharkhand Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, the NHRC also sought to know the government's policy initiatives about educating and rehabilitating such children.
It also inquired about the action taken by the administration against those involved in abducting and recruiting the children as ‘Maoist foot soldiers'.