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Children of God…. Puppets for Self Interest?

By EMN Updated: Mar 11, 2020 11:21 pm

And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

– Mark 9:42

In August 2015 NSCN(IM) signed the Framework Agreement with Government of India taking a historic step towards bringing in peace and normalcy in the region. The mere fact that all factions of Naga insurgent groups and NNPGs came together for this initiative earned accolades for the Naga leadership. The CFMG and NNPG together laid down the CFGR, the guidelines to be observed by the parties involved during their journey towards achieving the desired end state of a permanent and mutually acceptable solution.

But one of the stark realities which the NSCN(IM) has conveniently shrouded under the cloak of secrecy is the employment of children as soldiers in the Naga Army. Children facing abuse or undergoing domestic trauma in their homes are often easy prey for the insurgent cadres scouting for cannon fodder. These children instead of receiving hope and compassion are allured into picking up the guns and made to tread the path of violence to redeem their sufferings. Little do these gullible and impressionable minds know what lies in future for them? The real devious motive of these indoctrinated cadres is to recruit these child soldiers to do menial jobs under the garb of fighting for freedom.

 A horrifying account of life of penury and agony faced by these child soldiers, was published in an article “Kids Who Bit the Bullet” published in ‘The Week’ after the Framework Agreement was signed. In the article, the acknowledgement of recruitment of children as soldiers by a functionary of NSCN(IM) under conditions of anonymity further exposed the duplicity of the group. These children instead of studying school books are forced to handle hazardous weapons, explosives and taught to take lives of a perceived enemy including unarmed civilians.

These children are blissfully unaware of their right’s under international laws and conventions such as: –

International Labour Organisation Convention No. 182- Defines child soldiering as one of the worst forms of child labour.

UN Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict Article 4 sub-clause 1 – Mentions armed groups that are distinct from the armed forces of a state should not, under any circumstances recruit or use in hostilities persons under the age of 18 years. (Govt of India is a signatory of this protocol since 2004)

International Humanitarian Law Rule 136 – Recruitment of Child Soldiers.

Even today, these laws/ conventions are being flouted with impunity by this armed group. The most baffling thought is how the parents of these innocent children let go off their own pound of flesh without a blinking of an eyelid? Why are these children penalised for no fault of theirs? Are these parents not morally bound to provide safe and secure environment to their wards until they learn to fly. Even the lioness protects her cubs from other beasts to the peril of her own life. Does the absolute power wrested by the insurgent leaders at the behest of guns permit them to snatch the children from their parents? On the contrary, the children of these insurgent group leaders are safely ensconced in foreign countries far away from the vagaries of life which common Naga parents have to deal on a daily basis.

The time has come for Naga parents to introspect themselves, the permanent solution to the Naga issue lies in political negotiation which is presently on the table and not out there in jungles. Children are just like dispensable puppets in this show run by the insurgent leaders for their own malafide personal interests, to be thrown out once they fulfil their evil designs without an iota of remorse.


Khumlamo Patton, Akuk Village

By EMN Updated: Mar 11, 2020 11:21:20 pm