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The Year That Was: 2007
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Despair and Hope

The tragedies of 2007

December 04, 2007

Bihar the haven for kidnappers
Goa has tourism. Assam has tea. Bihar has kidnappings.

That was how a blogger described the state of affairs in that state.

To school-going children and their parents in Bihar, nothing could be more intolerable. Children were easy prey for gangsters hoping to make a bit of quick money. Often blood money.

Kidnappings were actually reported in many parts of the country but Bihar's record number of cases made headlines.

A change of government -- that brought Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to the helm -- did not improve matters.

The media reported on a thriving 'kidnapping industry' in the state. If you believe the available statistics, some 32,085 cases of kidnapping were reported between the year 1992 and September 2004 in the state. The latest figures, though not available, could be much higher. But these are just the 'official figures'.

Activists say actual figures are huge, if unreported and unregistered cases are also tallied. Nearly 5,000 people, including several children, were abducted in the state in the last year, they say. In the first six months of 2007, 2,217 people were kidnapped.

A senior lawyer of the Patna High Court tabulates that 4,849 kidnappings took place in Bihar from July 2006 to June 2007. Professionals, businessmen and students from well-heeled families are often the target of kidnappers. Hundreds of professionals have migrated to other states out of fear.

Elsewhere, the kidnapping and murder of Adnan Patrawala in Mumbai was equally shocking. The 16-year-old boy from Navi Mumbai, a suburb of Mumbai, was kidnapped by his friends on August 19 from Oshiwara, another western suburb of the city. They reportedly called up Adnan Patrawala's parents and demanded a ransom of Rs 2 crore.

Text: Rediff news bureau

Image: School children shout slogans and wave placards at a demonstration outside the governor's residence in Patna. They were demanding action in seven child aduction cases.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Also read: Did Orkut friends kidnap and kill Adnan?
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