Kidnapping as a source of income has acquired the status of an industry in north India. The police department has a list of gangs, whom they start questioning whenever a kidnapping case is reported. Lalu Prasad Yadav has been brandishing statistics, which show that the abduction cases in Bihar are on par, if not lesser than other states like Uttar Pradesh. The unstated part of the story is that a large number of kidnappings go unreported in Bihar. Registering a case with the police could spell doom for the victim, and this the families of the victims know. Recall the ?satisfaction? expressed by Kislay'sfather on the efforts of the state government.
The Kislay abduction episode reminded one of the Chopra children murders in Delhi during the Janata regime. Indira Gandhi effectively put this episode to political use, launching on it a campaign against the government'sinability to provide safety to citizens. In Bihar too, the episode is sure to have its political impact, especially because the boy was released a day before the first phase of polling. Incidentally, an Opposition leader had predicted this, indicating that the criminals had political connections.
Kidnapping of industrialists and well-earning doctors has been going on as a routine. Most of these people pay up and get out rather than go through the state machinery, which is largely viewed as part of the crime. What galled most people was the fact that a school student, from a middle-class family, was abducted. The public reaction was also because people realised that such incidents no more involved huge amounts as ransom. It could even be as low as Rs 5,000. In a state having one of the highest unemployment rate, criminals at the helm, coupled with a high rate of illiteracy, such crimes with political patronage are no surprise.
The number of convictions in kidnapping cases has been next to nil. When the victim returns safe, the case is mostly forgotten. So, the situation in the state cannot change dramatically with the change of government. Unless criminals are meted out the commensurate and quick punishments, deterrence is difficult.