Minors as militants a cause of worry in Garo Hills
Newmai News Network
SHILLONG, September 2
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he recent cases of minors and school boys getting embroiled in militancy in Garo Hills of Meghalaya have raised a lot of concerns for the people of the region. While most say the trend is worrisome after it came to light many are of the opinion that the lure of the lucre is too hard for these youngsters to resist. And the numbers seem to be getting bigger and bigger every day.
Last week, a 14 year old boy was arrested in Guwahati as a part of the arms supply trade. He was a carrier of arms for the rag tag group of militants going by the name of Achik National Cooperative Army (ANCA). Yesterday, an 18 year old boy was arrested from his home when he came to deliver money for his boss. He belonged to Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF) and was a widely known terror in the area where he belonged.“Imagine, I saw this boy as a young child and sometimes carried him. Now he comes here brandishing a gun to our faces and demands money. Where has the morals gone”, said one trader from Gokol. One resident who did not want to be named stated that it was easier for groups to use minors as the Juvenile Justice Board generally is very light in its sentences. “They always take a soft stand and the maximum punishment they get is a three year term in a Boys Home. How bad can that be”, he asked?
The Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) II government had recently called a meeting of MLAs to discuss the situation in Garo Hills. The team of MLAs decided to find the root cause of militancy in the region. They may not have to work too hard to find the reasons.
“Moral degradation has led to a lot of angst in the youth. There is now a huge identity crisis amongst the youth and they feel they can show their superiority through the barrel of a gun. This is something that even the Church is aware of and special sessions are now needed to be given to parents to keep their wards in check”, said Pravin Bakshi, DC WGH, in a recent address to the youth of Tura. When asked as to why these young boys were not only embracing militancy and even posing for photographs with guns, SP NGH, JFK Marak said, “They are taking videos, photos and keeping them as they can then show off to their friends. It gives them an aura of awe amongst their own friends. When they then show money to their friends, ill earned but huge, some of whom face problems in food, the others too are drawn to it in the hope that they too will earn quickly”.
A look at most of the arrests made point to youngsters between the ages of 16-22 being a major part of most arrests. Some of them have even earned dreaded reputation of ruthlessness.
“Easy money, social degradation, lack of a proper education system, poverty, under development, lack of parental guidance are all factors that have been leading these youths astray. Without a proper control on these factors, they will always turn to crime. Most of these boys are school dropouts and would hardly stand a chance at meaningful jobs”, said Simseng Marak, a resident of Dainadubi, NGH.
“The lure of easy money has to be the biggest contributor to these youths getting into the trade of militancy. Groups come and recruit them after showing them the dream of earning lakhs in months and they just follow. Convincing someone more mature would take more time and they do not have a family to worry about”, said another unnamed source in the police team.