Sunny Sebastian

Seven kidnapped by yet to be identified gang of dacoits

JAIPUR: Terror stalks the villages along the Chambal river in Raja Kheda tehsil of Dholpur district in Rajasthan after the kidnapping of seven persons by a yet to be identified gang of dacoits last Tuesday. Dholpur, along with adjoining Madhya Pradesh districts of Bhind and Morena, has been witnessing a series of kidnappings, of late.

The latest of the kidnappings took place from villages Gari Tedawali and Ranchorpura, located on the banks of the Chambal. In all, dacoits captured eight persons at around 5-5.30 pm on Tuesday and reportedly made them walk for some time along the river bank up to Chilpura before escaping to Madhya Pradesh, which is only 27 km away. One person, Shyam, managed to flee while others, Rishikesh (25 years), Satish (18), Virendra (25), Munna (32) of Gari Tedawali and Ramesh (60 years), Kaluva (22) and Harikant (16) of Ranchorpura are still in captivity.

According to information available, the victims were collecting sand from the riverbed at the Samuna Ghat when the dacoits came and made them to line up according to their caste and marital status. The dacoits fired to flatten the tyres of the tractor trolley into which the sand was being filled, prior to accosting the villagers. All the captured belong to the Brahmin community leading to the suspicion that the act could be the handiwork a gang with enmity to this community.

Three months ago Narain Hari Sharma, son of the former MP from Morena, was kidnapped and kept captive by the dacoits. He was released a month ago reportedly after the payment of Rs.4.50 lakhs as ransom.

In the present case, with no group making a demand for ransom for the release of the captives, the police authorities are groping in the dark about the kidnappers as well as the location of the victims.

"Four-five such incidents have happened recently in Raja Kheda alone and people have stopped moving out after sunset," Congress leader and former MLA from Raja Kheda Mohan Prakash said. The previous Congress regime had got rid of the dacoit menace from the area but it has reared its head again during the Government of Vasundhara Raje, who belonged to the area, he charged. "The fact that they could walk away with the captives is indicative of the laxity of the police," Mr.Prakash said. The confusion is there over the gang behind the kidnapping as initially it was said that none of the known gangs were involved.