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Jewellers run for cover

Jaipur, Feb.10: The recent spate of crimes against jewellers in the city has sent them scurrying.

Sumedha, 60, wife of jeweller Rashmi Kant Durlabhji, was kidnapped last Thursday from the Rajasthan University campus where she had gone for her morning walk. Minutes later, the abductors demanded a ransom of Rs. 2.5 crore.

The police’s inability to trace the kidnappers coupled with the systematic leak in the local media about their arrest “strategy” have shaken the faith of the city jewellers in the law and order machinery.

There has been a string of thefts and burglaries in residences and showrooms of Johari Bazar, known the world over as a hub of the gem and jewellery trade.

Most leading jeweller-families have reportedly approached detective and private security agencies for modern security-systems equipped with electronic gadgets. They have also demanded bodyguards for themselves and their families.

Secretary of Jewellers’ Association of Jaipur Ashok Singhi said Sumedha’s abduction has compelled them to review security arrangements. “We cannot afford to depend on the arrangements and systems employed so far.”

The new arrangements are being contemplated both at the collective as well as individual levels, he added.

The spokesman of a leading security and detective agency, Goliath Security Service, said about a dozen jewellers have contacted them for services at their residences and offices.

The Paragon Security Service said clients have even demanded replacement of their personal guards by highly-trained staff.

President of the jewellers’ association Ashok Tambi said jewellers can no longer bank on the police. “We have to look for private security guards,” he said.

Jewellers demanded that the government do something to restore their confidence and that of other businessmen and, more importantly, the common man.

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