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Source: Times of India

Maoists have killed five civilians — some of whom had reportedly refused to allow their children to join the Maoists and some had allegedly worked as spy for police — in Gumla and Lohardaga districts of Jharkhand in the last few days.

On Friday, Ranchi range DIG Praveen Kumar Singh confirmed the killing of five villagers but said that their bodies have not been recovered so far. Two villagers are reported to have been killed in Lohardaga and the rest in Gumla (both neighbouring districts), said a police officer. But villagers are yet to lodge a complaint with either Gumla or Lohardaga police due to the fear of Maoists.

“The killings have taken place in the last few days but we are yet to receive any complaint,” said Singh. “The area (where the killings have taken place) is inaccessible and it is not easy for forces to recover the bodies immediately. We have launched a search operation in Lohardaga and Gumla districts,” Ranchi range DIG Singh said.

“Through our own intelligence, we have received inputs about it (burning and burying of dead bodies). But the information is yet to be verified,” said DIG Singh.

A police officer said killings have taken place in Bishunpur area in Gumla and Kisko and Sneha areas in Lohardaga. Sources said the Maoists took away the villagers from their houses and shot them dead. To destroy the evidence of killings, Maoists burned some dead bodies and buried some.

A senior police officer not wanting to be named said at least two of the villagers who have been killed had refused to allow their children to join the Maoists. “The Maoists had held meetings with villagers a fortnight ago and sought one boy or girl from each household. They had forcibly taken some of the children with them,” said Lohardaga SP Mritunjay Kumar.

Mritunjay Kumar, however, said the identity of the victims will be clear only after forces return from forests. “It will not be proper to comment now,” said Kumar.

DIG Singh said hat in the last 10 days, Maoists have allegedly recruited 40-odd children in Jharkhand into their ranks, taken them to their training camps and are reportedly imparting them training in guerrilla warfare in Maoists camps situated in inaccessible forests of Gumla and Lohardaga districts.

The recruited children also include around 10 to 15 underage girls.

The Maoists are facing a crisis of cadres because police have arrested several rebels in last few years.

“We are trying to get the children released. We will also launch a special operation if needed to get the children back,” said Singh.

In Jharkhand, Maoists have been accused of recruiting children whom they use as couriers, spies, and as gunmen after certain training and at times also use them as human shields. In a recently prepared report — annual report of the UN secretary general on children and armed conflict — United Nations had expressed its concern on the misuse of children by the extremists.

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