Pak-based terror outfits recruited children in J&K: UN

RSTV Bureau
File photo: Budgam: A group of youth pelting stones on security forces during an anti-militant operation at village Durbugh in Chadoora area of central Kashmir's Budgam district, March 28, 2017. Photo - PTI

File photo: Budgam: A group of youth pelting stones on security forces during an anti-militant operation at village Durbugh in Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district, March 28, 2017.
Photo – PTI

The United Nations has flagged the use of children by Pakistan-based banned terror outfits Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen in Jammu and Kashmir during clashes with security forces last year. The report has cited three incidents where children were either used or recruited by the ultras.

The annual report, covering January-December 2017 period, said globally over 10,000 children were killed or maimed in conflict last year while more than 8,000 were recruited or used as combatants.

It covered 20 countries, including war-torn Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen and also the situation in India, the Philippines and Nigeria.

Children continued to be affected by incidents of violence between armed groups and government forces, particularly in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and during tensions in Jammu and Kashmir, UNSG Antonio Guterres said.

Noting “grave violations”, it said three incidents of recruitment and use of children by the two terror outfits were reported in Jammu and Kashmir during clashes with the security forces.

“One case was attributed to Jaish-e-Mohammed and two to Hizbul Mujahideen,” the report said, adding that “unverified” reports also indicate use of children as informants and spies by the security forces.

File photo of stone pelting at security forces in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir.

File photo of stone pelting at security forces in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir.

The UN said it continued to receive reports of 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,” it said, adding children continued to be killed and injured during operations of security forces against armed groups.

Guterres asked the Indian government to put in place measures to hold perpetrators of child recruitment and use to account and engage with the UN to end and prevent violations against children.

In Pakistan, the report said, the UN continued to receive reports of the recruitment and use of children, including from madrassas, also, the alleged use of children by armed groups for suicide attacks.

In January, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan released a video showing children, including girls, being instructed how to perpetrate suicide attacks.

(With inputs from PTI)