| Residents take out a candlelight march in protest against the kidnapping of Prashant in Bodhgaya. Telegraph picture |
The residents of Bodhgaya have called a strike in the town on Tuesday demanding safe release of nine-year-old Prashant Ranjan, who was kidnapped on July 28.
Twenty-three days have passed since two motorcycle-borne criminals kidnapped the Class IV student of Pre-Manav Bharati School from a place near the institution but police are clueless about his whereabouts. Sources in the police said the kidnappers have not called Prashant’s parents for ransom.
Unhappy with the “failure” of the police to rescue the boy, the residents, under the banners of the Nagarik Vikas Manch and the Bodhgaya Hotel Association, have called the strike. The Bodhgaya circle unit of the CPI has extended support to Tuesday’s protest.
On Saturday, the Nagarik Vikas Manch general secretary, Suresh Singh, and the Bodhgaya Hotel Association president, Jai Singh, led a delegation to senior superintendent of police (SSP) Vinay Kumar and demanded safe and immediate release of Prashant. They also submitted a memorandum to Magadh range deputy inspector-general (DIG) Nayyer Hasnain Khan at his office.
The police have so far interrogated the children, who were with Prashant when he was abducted, and some witnesses present at the spot.
The sources added that the children told the police that they had apprised their teachers of the abduction, but the latter allegedly did not react quickly.
The SSP told The Telegraph that the DIG has constituted a special team to rescue the boy. “We expect to get some clues soon,” Kumar said. He, however, refused to divulge details about the investigation.
Suresh and Jai have, in the meantime, requested businessmen, Buddhist monasteries and hotels in Bodhgaya to keep their establishments closed in solidarity with the demand.
Suresh said they would hold discussions with Internal Buddhist Council, seeking support for the strike call. Chakma Buddhist monastery in-charge Bhikkhu Priyapala has already announced support to the residents’ cause.
The criminals had kidnapped Prashant while he was going to school on the morning of July 28. Initially, a missing case was lodged with Bodhgaya police station, which was later converted into a kidnap case. Prashant’s mother, Chanchala, is separated from husband Neeraj Kumar, a resident of Madhepura, and stays with her parents in Bodhgaya.
On learning that his son has been kidnapped, Neeraj had rushed to Bodhgaya. He stayed in the town for 15 days, before returning to Madhepura where he works with a private firm.