They were found too young for insurgency training

Three minor boys who were lured out of their homes in a West Imphal village on April 7, to join an outlawed organisation, have been released by their captors from an underground camp in no-man's land along the Manipur-Myanmar border.

It is said C. Inao, S. Sanjay and S. Suraj, all under 15, were kept in Imphal for some days, after they had been taken out of their homes at Sairemkhul Polangshoi by a person who promised them money and mobile phones. The three were among about 10 boys allegedly abducted for military training this month. They stayed in the underground camp for a week.

The leaders of the suspected insurgents then apparently asked the three from West Imphal to go home as they were too young, adding they could come back after a few years if they wanted to. The boys were left at the Moreh market on Manipur border. But the other children were not lucky.

The abduction of the young boys for conscription as child soldiers led to a public outcry. In their complaint, the parents of Inao, Sanjay and Suraj said the boys had left home to watch a football match but did not return home.

Meanwhile, students of Don Bosco School in Imphal have been staging demonstrations and sit-ins demanding the release of a fellow student T. Rahul (12), who was kidnapped on April 21.

At a news conference, leaders of five students' organisations said a militant group had demanded Rs. 3 lakh from the school management. The student leaders said what happened was an act of terrorists, and not insurgents. There is fear over the boy's safety. In the past, some students were abducted for ransom but most of the victims were shot dead to conceal the identity of the kidnappers for, they were perhaps known to the captives.

Home Minister G. Gaikhangam has said all police stations have been put on red alert to cope with the increasing instances of kidnap for conscription.