Over 100 Hindu families in Pakistan’s Balochistan province are making efforts to migrate to India after becoming the target of a campaign of kidnappings and extortion, according to a media report today.

The Hindus of southwestern Balochistan have been hit hardest by incidents of abduction for ransom and extortion, with the records of the province’s Home Department showing that a large number of the 291 people abducted last year were Hindus, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

Five Hindu families have already migrated from Balochistan’s Mastung district to India and six more families are trying to seek asylum elsewhere or to shift to other parts of Pakistan, the daily quoted Hindu elders as saying.

Vijay Kumar, a 33-year-old chemist, claimed that over 100 Hindu families of Balochistan are making efforts to migrate to India because of the campaign of kidnappings and extortion.

““Our relatives are there in India, thus we Hindus prefer to settle India,” he told the daily.

Suresh Kumar, 31, who runs a grocery shop in Mastung district south of Quetta, wants to migrate though his family has lived in Balochistan for almost a century.

“Most of the people are trying to migrate to India or other areas of Pakistan because of the deteriorating law and order situation,” Mr. Kumar said.

“Kumar is not alone in this desire. Frightened by the rise in kidnappings in which their community is being targeted, many Hindus want to leave the country at the first opportunity,” the report said.

In provincial capital Quetta alone, four of eight persons kidnapped last year belonged to the Hindu community.

The situation was worse in Naseerabad district, where half the 28 people kidnapped in 2010 were from the minority community.

“It is a common perception that most of the victims were released after paying huge sums of money as ransom to kidnappers. Relatives are reluctant to disclose how much money was paid to the kidnappers, fearing that they will be targeted again,” the report said.

Balochistan’s Minorities Affairs Minister Basant Lal Ghulshan said: “Recent incidents have shocked us.”

Forty-one Hindus were abducted during the past three years and four more were killed when they resisted kidnapping attempts.

Juhary Lal, a well-known trader, was abducted about 16 months ago in Naal area of Khuzdar district and his whereabouts are unknown.

The recent abduction of spiritual leader Luckmi Chand Gurji has shaken the Hindus.

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