A UNICEF estimate says about 2.50 lakhs children have been recruited as soldiers in various capacities worldwide. In India no such studies have been done to document the life of these child soldiers. The main reasons the children take to guns being extreme poverty and they see rebels leading well-off lives. To them joining the rebels seems like an opportunity to get out of their misery. When the child soldier learns the tricks of the trade and starts getting money, the parents also enjoy a better life style. While the government doesn’t give enough support and compensation for victims, rebel groups step in to act as guardians.
Whats worse is that in most countries, including India, there is no government mandate on what should be done of these children, once they are found during raids or encounters. Can their childhood be returned? NO!
In over twenty countries around the world, children are direct participants in war. Denied a childhood and often subjected to horrific violence, an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 children are serving as soldiers for both rebel groups and government forces in current armed conflicts. These young combatants participate in all aspects of contemporary warfare. They wield AK-47s and M-16s on the front lines of combat, serve as human mine detectors, participate in suicide missions, carry supplies, and act as spies, messengers or lookouts.