Kathmandu : Five Indian men narrowly escaped being lynched in Nepal Sunday on suspicion of being child lifters after growing public fears over an increase in the number of kidnappings. They instead ended up in police custody.
The men were caught by some residents of Bandipur, the main town in Tanahun district, about 180 km from capital city Kathmandu, after being suspected of belonging to a child-lifting gang, and were handed over to the police.
“Tanahun has been crippled by a transport strike Sunday and the situation is tense,” an official of the Tanahun police office told IANS. “The five men were said to have come out of their vehicles and begun taking photographs of children. It made the locals suspicious, especially after a series of kidnappings countrywide. They caught the men and handed them over to us. However, because of the tension created by the transport strike, we can look into the matter only after the situation has been brought under control.”
Though police declined to comment further on the five imprisoned Indians, Avenues Television, a Nepali TV station, said they were from India’s Chhattisgarh state. They were identified as R. Shetty, Chandrashekhar Verma, Ramesh Kumar, Ashok Kumar Yadav and Surendra Pandey.
The detention of the five Indians comes even as Nepal police began a hunt for at least one more Indian wanted for the kidnapping of a six-year-old boy from farwest Nepal.
Shuv Pratap Rana, a primary student, was lured away by two men on a motorcycle from his school, Ganesh Baba English Boarding School, Thursday. The incident occurred in Tikapur town in Kailali district.
Superintendent of Police (Kailali) Uttam Bahadur Singh said police arrested 10 people, who led the posse to the house of the mastermind, a Tikapur resident called Rakesh Hamal. The gang had at first demanded a ransom of NRS 20 million but later scaled it down to NRS 5 million.
Hamal’s arrest busted the racket and acting on information disclosed by him, police raided a house in Lakhimpur district in India’s Uttar Pradesh adjoining the border and freed the kidnapped boy.
“We have now brought the boy back to Kailali,” Singh said. “We are also looking for an Indian who is said to have been involved in the crime.”
Avenue said three Indians have been arrested in the Kailali case. However, there was no immediate official confirmation.
There has been growing involvement of Indians in rising kidnappings in Nepal. While some Indians act as passive accomplices, offering their houses across the border to keep the victim imprisoned till the ransom is paid, many are actively involved, plotting the crime and carrying it out.
One of the most shocking crimes in Nepal this month was committed by an Indian from Darjeeling town.
Biren Pradhan, a 42-year-old former biology teacher, planned the kidnap of an 18-year-old high school student, Khyati Shrestha, and killed her in his residence in Kathmandu in early June. After killing her, he cut up her body in pieces and scattered them in different areas to avoid detection.
The killer stored body parts in his fridge, used perfumes and room fresheners lavishly to hide the smell and used a public vehicle to transport the victim’s chopped-up arms and legs to Chitwan district in southern Nepal.
The growing involvement of Indians in abductions recently has whipped up an anti-Indian sentiment in Nepal’s border districts with villagers lynching several people.