In spite of a lapse of two months, law enforcement agencies remain clueless about the whereabouts of Dr Rajish Kumar, a member of the Hindu community kidnapped in broad daylight from Quetta on February 13.
Dr Kumar is the son of Dr Nand Lal, a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)’s Quetta chapter as well as of the Pak-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy.
Sources close to the relatives of Kumar said the kidnappers have established contact with the family and demanded Rs20 million in ransom for his release.
Meanwhile, police appear to have made no progress on the case and remain unwilling to talk about it. In spite of several attempts made by The Express Tribune, senior police officials remained unavailable for comment.
“The DIG Operations is busy and I will ask him if he is willing to comment on this issue and then let you know,” a police official said. He did not follow up with a response.
According to HRCP’s Balochistan chapter, as many as 34 members of the Hindu community, most of whom are traders, have been kidnapped across different parts of Balochistan so far since 2011. “A few are still in the captivity of kidnappers while all others were released after paying a huge chunk of money as ransom,” Tahir Hussain, Balochistan HRCP Vice Chairman told The Express Tribune.
Another Hindu trader, Ganga Ram, was kidnapped from Lasbela a week ago but police are yet to trace his whereabouts.
HRCP urged the government to take appropriate steps to stop the kidnapping of Hindu traders, saying that the community had specifically been made a target.
Meanwhile, Basant Lal Gulshan, provincial minister for human rights and minorities affairs, said two of his workers who were kidnapped in March had been released without paying ransom.
“Vinod Kumar and Sono Kumar were kidnapped in Marach and released after 15 days. Their safe recovery took place with the help of tribal notables and law enforcement agencies,” he said.
Ironically, Basant said they were not recovered but voluntarily released by their captors. “Most of the (recovered) Hindus paid ransom but these two were released without payment.”
According to a former senior police officer of Balochistan, there is a lack of high-ranking police officials in the province which is contributing to the deteriorating law and order situation.
“Grade 17 to 18 police officers are serving on grade 20 posts. There is no senior officer,” he said. “Senior officials are needed to control the crime (rate).”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2012.