A complete shutter-down strike was observed in Dadhar on Saturday in protest of the abduction of a Hindu trader.
Gur Bakhsh Lal was kidnapped from near a police checkpoint on Friday night when he was on his way home after closing his shop in the Ali Rind area.
Police officials said that it was an incident of kidnapping for ransom.
All shops and markets remained closed in Dadhar in response to the strike call given by the traders’ association. Traffic also remained off the roads.
“Over the past few years, Hindu traders are specifically being targeted by kidnappers in Balochistan. More than a dozen Hindu traders have been kidnapped from Dadhar alone and they were released after paying a huge sum of money as ransom,” a Hindu trader told this correspondent on condition of anonymity.
“Hindu traders are now forced to pay extortion as well as protection money,” he said. However, he did not say who the extortionists or kidnappers were, but said that they were all being backed by “influential people”. “It is a case of kidnapping for ransom. However, no group has so far contacted the family,” an official said. No case was registered till the filing of this report.
Inspector General of Frontier Corps (FC), Balochistan, had recently admitted that kidnapping for ransom had become a “lucrative business” in the province and its incidence was rapidly increasing, adding that some “influential politicians are behind these incidents”.
“I paid Rs400,000 to the kidnappers for freeing me,” said a Hindu engineer. “Everyone knows who is behind such incidents. People are making money by kidnapping innocent people. Law enforcement agencies are also equally responsible and (may) even (be) involved in most cases.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.