AMSU, DESAM pitch in for kids
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 23: While appealing to all concerned to stop kidnapping and recruiting child soldiers, All Manipur Students' Union (AMSU) and Democratic Students' Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) have urged all the students and teachers of the schools in Manipur to suspend the last period of the class tomorrow and stage protest demonstrations in front of their respective school gates.

Addressing a press conference at the office of AMSU here today, president of the student body Khamba Laishram said AMSU and DESAM are really concerned about the kidnapping of young children for recruitment as child soldiers as it would be detrimental to the physical and mental development of the children who are the future pillars of the society.

So the armed militant groups concerned should stop violation of the rights of the children and understand the pulse of the people.

Otherwise, AMSU and DESAM would be constraint to take up various intense agitation against recruitment of child soldiers, Khamba declared.

He further observed that the current trend of kidnapping of young children for recruitment as child soldiers would give a serious impact on the education of the children.

Besides denying the rights of education of all those children who have already been kidnapped and recruited as child soldiers, a fear psychosis has also been created in the minds of the children who are still living with their parents.

Consequently, parents are hesitant from sending their children to school, he noted.

Over and above this, rumours are doing the round that the militant groups have asked for providing 10 to 20 students from each school for recruitment as child soldiers, he said, while cautioning the public against such false rumours and urged the militant groups to refrain from adopting such a move if there is any truth in the rumours.

DESAM president Asherjit Luwang pointed out that recruitment of young children as child soldiers when they should be provided a conducive atmosphere for study and mental development is against the provisions of the UN Convention.

It is universally accepted that the concept of child soldiers is not to be condoned as forcing young children to become child soldiers seriously affect them morally and physically.

As a consequent, restrictions have been imposed on recruitment of child soldiers, he observed.

The two student bodies have also made a fervent appeal to the proscribed outfit KYKL and UNLF to lift the restrictions imposed on the people of Heirok area.

The two student bodies maintained that the move being made by the Government to upgrade the schools in Heirok area instead of trying to resolve the matter is objectionable.

How long the people of Heirok would be kept confined by the Government and how such an arrangement could ensure the career of the students in Heirok area ?, the student bodies demanded to know.