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Attacks on Jharkhand traders increasing


Ranchi : Jharkhand's businessmen are a scared lot with abductions and killings targeting them on the rise.

While a businessman is struggling for life in a hospital here after he was shot by unidentified criminals, another trader has not returned home for five days since his abduction earlier this week.

On Friday, Lalu Singh, a businessman here, was shot by two criminals who came on a motorbike. Now he is admitted in the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) in the Jharkhand capital.

A Jamshedpur-based businessman, Vishwanath Garg, was abducted last Tuesday when he was returning to his hometown from Ranchi. Jharkhand police suspect that Garg, who owns an export business, has been taken to Bihar.

"We have information that Garg has been abducted by a Bihar- based gang which is patronised by a legislator of that state. We have contacted Bihar police and efforts are on for his safe release," said a police official from Jamshedpur.

The two incidents this week have shocked the entire business community of the state. "The attack on a businessman and abduction of another has exposed the tall claims of the police about ensuring the protection of the business community," said Arun Budhia, president of the Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce.

The business community is now planning a protest march demanding an improvement in the situation. On Monday, the traders of Jamshedpur have called a strike against the abduction.

"If the situation persists, we will have to hit the streets by stripping ourselves," said an angry trader of Jamshedpur.

In 2006, 34 cases of abduction for ransom were registered in the state, while the number was 22 and 41 respectively in 2005 and 2004. The total number of abduction cases registered in 2006 was 633, which was 574 and 576 respectively in 2005 and 2004.