Manipuri militant groups recruiting children; Nine militant groups active in Assam
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  • In the past few weeks, reports noted that at least 17 children were missing from militancy-infested Manipur. The police suspect that some of the missing children have been lured away by the militant groups to join the armed movement. A directive issued by the Manipur Director General of Police to all district superintendents of police on July 16 noted that forcible recruitment has been reported from areas like Andro in Imphal East and Sekmaijin in Imphal West1. The Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) has on its part admitted that it was recruiting children, but denied allegations of kidnapping or of using them as combatants. On July 17, PREPAK paraded six children before the media at its general headquarters somewhere in Chandel district to drive home the message that the children had come to the outfit ‘voluntarily2.’

    Meanwhile, the Assam Minister for Forest and Environment Rockybul Hussain stated on the floor of the state legislative assembly on July 18 that 9 militant outfits, with total cadre strength of 2,275, were operating in the state. The minister noted that the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was the most powerful militant outfit with 1,175 cadres. The other groups included the United Liberation Front of Barak Valley (ULFBV) with 250 cadres, Dima Halom Daogah-Jewel (DHD-J) with 240 and Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) with 225 cadres. Of the other groups, the Muslim United Liberation Tiger of Asom (MULTA) had 160 cadres, the All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA) had 90, Hmar People’s Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) 50, Harkat-ul-Mujahiddin (HuM) 45 and Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) had about 40 cadres3.

    Elsewhere, a suspected ULFA militant, Ramen Baruah, was arrested from the residence of the Member of Parliament Anowar Hussain in New Delhi on July 19, when he allegedly came to extort money Hussain. However, two other militants managed to escape. Delhi Police claimed to have recovered three extortion notes addressed to Hussain, EAM Pranab Mukherjee and Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh from the arrested militant4.