Bhubaneswar, April 28: The government has reacted sharply to reports of a Naxalite outfit “grooming” teenagers to be cadre in Malkangiri.
Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, known to be Naxalite dens, border Malkangiri district of Orissa.
“We shall take strict action through our paramilitary and police forces if the charges are proven,” said chief minister Naveen Patnaik, while reacting to reports today at a media meet held to discuss this issue.
The matter gained prominence yesterday when a TV channel showed video clippings of a recent Bal Sangam rally in which more than 2,000 children between eight and 10 years had participated.
However, the clippings did not specify the date or the location of the rally.
Some sections of the media recently reported that a Maoist outfit, Bal Sangam, were inducting tribal teenagers to its fold taking advantage of the poverty and illiteracy in the remote part of the state.
Sources said the rebels were training children to collect information, handle sophisticated weapons like AK-47 and SLRs and plant mines. They were also being taught Maoist and Leninist ideology and the history of the Naxalite movement.
The recruits were also being engaged to collect intelligence inputs on police action, deliver messages and procure food from the market.