NEW DELHI: An Indian schoolboy abducted in India's lawless eastern state of Bihar was rescued yesterday on the eve of regional elections, sparking accusations police and the local government had colluded with the kidnappers.
Fourteen-year-old Kislay Kaushal was abducted on Jan 19 while waiting for a school bus in Bihar's capital, Patna, where criminal gangs wield formidable influence.
Although appearing thin and unkempt, Kislay said his abductors had not physically harmed him.
“I am very happy to be back. I was not beaten up or anything,” he told reporters at his home, surrounded by family members and well-wishers.
Asked if he could identify his kidnappers, he said he had contact only with the man who came to feed him.
“I was confined in one room all the while,” he said.
Kislay's abduction gained nationwide notoriety after schoolchildren from across Bihar launched campaigns – boycotting school, undertaking fasts and holding demonstrations and protests – to pressure the government to find him.
The kidnapping of children has turned into a controversy in the lead up to state elections in Bihar.
Police said last week that seven children had been kidnapped in a 10-day period last month.
The main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) voiced suspicions at the timing of Kislay's release and accused the Bihar government of having known where he was all along.
“From the very beginning the Bihar government and police knew about Kislay's whereabouts,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told the Press Trust of India news agency in New Delhi.
“His safe release a day before the first phase of assembly elections in the state exposes a serious nexus between the kidnappers and the government,” Mukhtar said.
Police registered 32,085 cases of kidnapping from 1992 to September last year in Bihar which accounts for 26.5% of India's total reported crimes.
The state averages around 2,000 murders, 1,200 robberies, 14,000 assaults and thousands of cases of rioting every year. –AFP
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