Kohima, Sep 9 (IANS): The National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Khaplang (NSCN-K), a Myanmar-based rebel group has been recruiting school children here at gunpoint, an Assam Rifles official said on Wednesday.
"NSCN-K has been continuing with its drive to recruit school children at gunpoint, because the peace-loving citizens of Nagaland have refused to support any form of violence and are not willing to replenish the depleting strength of NSCN-K cadres," Assam Rifles spokesman Shailesh said.
In their latest recruitment drive, the official said 15 youths from Nagaland's Phek district were forcefully taken away by the cadres of Brig Kurichu, commander of NSCN-K's Mobile-V Group, which operates between Phek district and Tsera (Myanmar).
"The youngest student recruited is only 41 years of age. These youths were taken to Tsera camp, from where they are sent to Ngiakching camp (Myanmar) for basic military training," Shailesh alleged.
Shailesh said the recruitment drive of NSCN-K is in direct contravention to the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989.
He said Article 38 of this Convention requires state parties to prevent anyone under the age of 15 from taking direct part in hostilities and to refrain from recruiting anyone under the age of 15 years.
Moreover, he said such actions of NSCN-K are also preventing children of Naga villages from exercising their Right to Education that is enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
The rebel group led by Myanmar-based S.S. Khaplang had unilaterally abrogated the ceasefire with the central government in March, 14 years after signing the agreement.
Following the abrogation of the ceasefire, the rebel group has carried out several attacks against security forces in Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.