Raipur: To bolster their depleting ranks, the Maoist leadership in Chattisgarh have now set their eyes on minor boys and girls as young as 13 years, making the task of security forces combating insurgency tougher.
"Maoist insurgents have stepped up their recruitment drive in Abujhmar region forcing minor boys and girls, mostly in their early teens, to join the rebel ranks," Bastar Superintendent of Police RL Meena told a news agency on Wednesday.
"They use minors as shield and engage them mostly in gathering information," he said.
According to sources, posters and banners asking youth to join the Maoist ranks have also been spotted at various places in Kanker and Narayanpur districts.
Abujhmar, a densely forested area spread over 4,000 sq km, is considered to be the stronghold of Maoist guerrillas.
According to Kanker Superintendent of Police Rahul Bhagat, the rebels are conducting recruitment drives through posters.
Villagers who themselves are not willing to join the Maoist ranks are being forced to give away younger members of their family to serve in the organisation.
"The rebels are adopting new strategies to step up their enrolment," said Bhagat.
The posters put up at Koylabeda say that the first phase of the recruitment is expected to commence from October 25 and last till November 15.
In the posters, the rebels have also demanded shutdown of Rawghat and Chargaon iron ore mining projects strongly opposing displacement of the villagers in these areas.