The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (A/70/836–S/2016/360) issued on 20 April 2016.
The United Nations continued to receive reports of the recruitment and use of children as young as 6 years of age by armed groups, including the Naxalites, in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal States. Reports indicate that children were coerced to join children’s units (“Bal Dasta”), where they were trained and used as couriers and informants, to plant improvised explosive devices and in front-line operations against national security forces. For example, in April, the Bharatiya Communist Party (Maoist) reportedly forced the inhabitants of seven villages in Gumla district, Jharkhand State, to hand over five children per village to join their ranks. To avoid such forcible recruitment, families have resorted to sending children away from home at a young age, leading to children dropping out of school.
In the eastern provinces, children were killed and injured as a result of violence and fighting between armed groups and national security forces. In June, 12 Communist Party of India (Maoist) fighters, including 4 children dressed in uniforms, were killed in a joint police operation in Bhalwahi village, Jharkhand State.
The abduction of children, especially girls, by armed groups was a serious concern. Abducted children are subjected to further grave violations and abuses, and have been forced to serve in combat functions, exposed to sexual violence and, reportedly, used as human shields. In April, Maoists reportedly abducted five girls aged between 10 and 13 years of age from Karcha village, West Bengal State, and their whereabouts remain unknown.