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Yet again, GNLA uses children as human shields

SHILLONG: After a lull, the GNLA militants have again started using children probably to shield the rebels from the operations being carried out by security forces in Garo Hills.
According to police, the dwindling strength of the ultras is perhaps the reason for the militants to use children to protect themselves from any attacks by the police.
“With pressure mounting on GNLA militants, whose strength is dwindling, the use of children by the militants has been reported from parts of South Garo Hills,” said district police chief Anand Mishra over phone on Monday.
Police have reports from several villages that the militants had taken away many children.     According to the SP, police are taking the matter seriously.
The militants are using the children to get information about the movement of security personnel and also to carry ration, besides entrusting them to do other menial jobs.
The police official said a police team had visited several villages and contacted parents to know the whereabouts of their missing children.
“Often, the guardians do not give us any specific reply. They say that their children are either in their relatives’ houses or studying in Tura,” the SP said.
According to the police official, the parents and guardians should cooperate with the police and lodge complaints regarding the missing cases of their children to prevent the militants from taking advantage of the situation which, if not prevented, will have serious repercussions on the society.
Earlier in December 2012, based on media reports about children being used as soldiers and shield by GNLA, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had sought a report on the matter.
Police had rescued many children from the camps of the militants and also urged the parents to ask their children to leave the camps to avoid casualties during counter-insurgency operations carried out by the security forces in the Garo Hills region.

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