The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bihar children on warpath over kidnap
Students of DAV School, Patna, pray for the safe return of Kislay Kaushal who was abducted last week. (PTI)

Patna, Jan. 24: Bihar today woke up to a snowballing movement spearheaded by children demanding the release of a kidnapped boy and went to bed with the stunning news that another student has disappeared.

Police said Ravi Kant, a student of DAV Public School in Biharsharif, went missing today, six days after another schoolboy, Kislay Kaushal, was kidnapped.

Ravi Kant's family members alerted the police in the evening as he did not reach home. The police said the boy might have been kidnapped when he was proceeding to board the school bus but added that investigations are on to confirm this.

The abduction of Kislay, a student of Delhi Public School, Patna, has triggered a campaign by schoolchildren.

Over a thousand schools in and around Patna remained closed today to protest against the rising incidence of kidnapping of school students. The DAV group of schools however, remained open, but organised fasts, prayers and yagnas in support. Other schools planned a relay fast if the abducted child is not found by Republic Day.

Some students said they would not 'celebrate' Republic Day. 'We respect the nation and the Tricolour. We will participate in the flag-hoisting ceremony but will not participate in the customary cultural programmes,' said a DPS student.

The students seemed to be preparing to intensify their agitation.

Some schools have already formed groups of students to launch a relay fast from tomorrow following a call by Oxygen, a non-government organisation working for students. The NGO president, Vinod Singh, is on a fast for the last four days.

'The elders ' especially the police or Laloo Prasad Yadav ' have done little for our safety and Kislay's release. Perhaps it is time we children try to make a difference. We want justice, we want safety and according to our civics teachers, these are our basic rights and the government's duty. We will continue to skip our lunch till the police rescue Kislay,' said a Class IX student of Notre Dame Academy.

Schools reopen for a day tomorrow before Republic Day. Sources in the local public schools' association said they were planning a 'massive protest march' of children near Raj Bhavan on January 26 or 27 if Kislay is not rescued by then.

A girl of St Joseph's Convent was upset because Laloo Prasad said the protest of students at the airport was 'planted' by a news channel. 'Nothing can be more demeaning than to insult our genuine sentiments. We have committed no crime in demanding safety. Some politicians say the protest is only by students of the elite schools, which is anyway not true. But will they tell us where do their children study' she asked.

A student of DAV-Patliputra said their protest was not being taken seriously because they were not eligible to vote.

'We are scared to go to the bus stop every morning. We want to draw the attention of all voters of Bihar to our condition and fear,' he said.

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