Bihar: 74 abducted children killed, 304 missingMarch 5th, 2008 - 10:47 am ICT by admin
By Imran Khan
Patna, March 5 (IANS) Nearly seven months have passed since 14-year-old Akash Pandey was kidnapped from Patna. He was on his way to school when the incident occurred.
Despite repeated assurances of efforts to recover him, Bihar Police have failed to find the boy. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar too had promised the family that he would be found as soon as possible.
Then there’s the case of seven-year-old Ankit, who was kidnapped in front of his school here in April last year.
The parents of both Akash and Ankit, like hundreds of parents of missing children, are still praying for their safe return. But police have failed to make a breakthrough in most cases despite repeated assurances by the government.
According to official reports, 2,068 children were recorded kidnapped from July 2003 to 2007. Of them, 1,690 were recovered. But 74 abducted children were killed while 304 are still missing. This was disclosed by Bihar Energy Minister Vijendra Prasad Yadav in the state assembly.
Yadav, replying to a question on behalf of the state government, admitted that there was no denying that many children were still missing. The question was raised by opposition legislators who expressed concern over missing children.
Kidnapping has become a thriving industry in Bihar. Nearly 5,000 people, including hundreds of children, were abducted in the state last year.
Nitish Kumar has said in the assembly that police are investigating all aspects regarding the 304 missing children. He said FIRs had been lodged in different police stations regarding missing children and senior police officers had been asked to investigate extensively all aspects of the cases.
He downplayed the charges made by the opposition about a rise in the number of kidnapping cases, saying abductions for ransom were declining.
However, a senior police official admitted that most of the missing children were abducted, killed or had not returned home between 2003 and 2007. The Nitish Kumar government came to power in 2005, promising to check the kidnapping industry in the state.
(Imran Khan can be contacted at email@example.com)