Bihar held hostage | india | Hindustan Times
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Bihar held hostage

Abduction and extortion have become an industry in Bihar and the police and administration do not seem to have any plans to cope with it.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2006 00:24 IST
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Abduction and extortion have become an industry in Bihar and the police and administration do not seem to have any plans to cope with it. A particularly heinous development has been the kidnapping of children as they make their way to or from schools. The Indian Penal Code may not class kidnapping with crimes like rape and murder, but it is no less painful for the affected person and his/her family. People who have been through the trauma, become withdrawn and distrustful and unsure of themselves as indeed do their families. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had set a deadline of three months, following his assumption of office, to contain crime. That date, February 24, is a little over a month from now and there are no signs that Bihar’s crime graph is headed south.

Perhaps the criminals want to send a message to the new chief minister of the state that as far as they are concerned, it is business as usual. In that case, if Mr Kumar wants to do something about it, he needs to spell out an action plan to counter kidnapping. The message, and of course, the action, must be loud and clear enough to clear the miasma of insecurity that has settled on the state. Perhaps Mr Kumar needs to get hold of some young and energetic police officials and constitute a special task force, of the type that goes after terrorists and gangsters. This force should be specially empowered and report directly to the chief minister’s office. The second thing he could do is to set up fast track courts and ensure quick and deterrent punishment for the kidnappers.

Mr Kumar, of course, knows that the issue is not just that of fighting crime, but of sending a signal to investors who he is assiduously wooing. He can be sure that there will be absolutely no chance that investment will go to Bihar unless there is a significant drop in the state’s crime levels.