QUETTA: A 24-year-old Hindu businessman, abducted for ransom about 50 days ago, was found dead near the Western Bypass near Quetta, the police said on Tuesday.
The tragedy began on October 22, when Ravi Kumar was abducted at gunpoint by four armed men, from his godown in Satellite Town. Three days later, the kidnappers contacted the family and demanded Rs20 million.
“We asked them to keep their demand within justifiable limits, so that we could pay,” said Kumar’s uncle Dr Mehar Chand, who serves as the general secretary of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s minority wing. After negotiations, the kidnappers agreed to halve the ransom.
On Monday evening, the family told the kidnappers they were ready to pay up but in the morning, the police informed them that three bodies needed to be identified at Civil hospital. One of them was Kumar’s.
Dr Mehar Chand quoted the doctors as saying that his head and chest were crushed with some heavy object.
“I’m sorry to say that minorities are not safe in this country,” said Dr Chand. He was also critical of the “lukewarm” response he received from the DIG and deputy commissioner of Quetta when he had asked for their help.
Police officials, however, said that Kumar’s family was unwilling to accept their help and wanted to resolve the issue on their own, using personal contacts.
Ultimately, police officials said, Kumar was executed by his captors when the ransom was not furnished.
Despite the setback, the police are investigating the case for possible clues that may help in tracking down the culprits.
Kumar was married and had a three-year-old son.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Commission Pakistan, Balochistan chapter, expressed its serious concern over the increasing incidents of kidnapping for ransom, particularly targeting minorities. “Hindus have stopped sending their children to school since they have become vulnerable to kidnapping for ransom,” said Tahir Hussain, chairman HRCP Balochistan.
(With additional reporting by our correspondent in Sukkur)
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2011.