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‘Jungle raj’ rerun fear

Patna, May 4: The kidnapping and murder of Rohit Kumar has brought back memories of the Lalu-Rabri era when a number of schoolboys were abducted, some even killed.

“Ours was called a jungle raj. The Nitish Kumar government claims it has ushered in Ram Rajya. But so many schoolchildren have been kidnapped in Ram Rajya,” said leader of the Opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui, recalling the taunts of the NDA his government had to face when a schoolboy in Bhagalpur, Kislay Kaushal, was kidnapped just before the February 2005 polls.

A spurt in the kidnapping of young boys across Bihar in the recent past has raised concerns that abductors are raising their heads again in the state, once synonymous with crime.

The killing of Rohit, a Class XI student of a noted public school in Patna, has sent shockwaves among residents, who fear that kidnappers are getting back to their old ways again.

At least three incidents of suspected kidnapping of schoolchildren have been reported from Patna alone in the past week.

Ankit Kumar, a Class VII student of a public school, went missing from Vidyapuri locality under Patrakarnagar police station on Sunday.

Another schoolboy, Animesh, went missing when he had gone to attend painting classes on Sunday. Though the police have failed to trace Ankit, Animesh is reported to have been traced to Maner in Patna rural.

“A police team has been sent to Maner to bring the boy to Patna safely,” station house officer of Patrakarnagar police station Dhirendra Pandey said. He said efforts were on to trace Animesh.

Rohit’s killing has reminded the people of the kidnapping and subsequent murder of schoolboy Amarjeet by his friends in December last year. Amarjeet, son of a businessman, was kidnapped from Gardanibagh locality in Patna on December 20. His body was recovered from Sipara on the outskirts of Patna on December 24.

Three youths have been arrested for the murder and the chargesheet has been filed.

Statistics compiled by the state crime record bureau show that in January this year altogether 248 cases of kidnapping were registered with different police stations. Of these, seven persons were kidnapped for ransom while 21 others were abducted for murder.

“We are serious about curbing incidents of kidnapping for ransom in the state,” director-general of police Neel Mani said.

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