Even though the Maoists claim to be fighting for the rights of marginalised sections of society, in reality they are exploiting the tribals and forcing children from the poor families to join the red brigade, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs RPN Singh told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
The minister said that several instances of exploitation of the tribals by the guerrillas had come to the notice of the Centre and majority of the incidents include sexual exploitation in Maoist camps which had been revealed by the statements of several women CPI (Maoist) cadre of Odisha, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand and other states who had surrendered to the authorities.
In November, the Chhattisgarh Police had rescued two minor girls from Bijapur jungle, who were abducted by the guerrillas and gangraped.
And the minister said that out of the 5,745 civilians killed by the Naxals since 2001, an overwhelming majority were tribals. In order to instil a sense of fear in their strongholds, the Naxals kill civilians after branding them police informers.
“The Maoists have in reality killed thousands of innocent Adivasis, whose cause they profess to espouse. This tragic reality is glossed over by the Maoist front organisations and their apologists in towns and cities who have launched a propaganda war against the Indian state. “
Giving details of the steps taken by the Centre to deal with the issue of forced recruitment of children, Singh said the government had initiated a number of steps and the matter was also brought to the notice of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) which is implementing the ‘Bal Bandhu Project’. “ The Government of India also issues advisories to the state Governments from time to time,” he said.