Indian schoolboy kidnapped in Kathmandu
Mar 24, 2007 - 2:28:43 PM

Kathmandu, March 24 - An Indian businessman's son has been kidnapped from the Nepal capital in broad daylight, just 24 hours after the government gave a written assurance to the business community that it would be protected from threats, extortion and abduction.

Vivek Agrawal, aged around 14 years, was going to his school to take an examination Friday morning when he was spirited away from the capital's busy market area.

Vivek's father Lal Chand Agrawal owns a garments shop at a shopping complex in New Road, Kathmandu's commercial area.

Within hours of his abduction, the kidnappers called up Vivek's home, asking for ransom and warning them not to report the matter to police.

The audacious kidnapping came just a day after Nepal's seven-party government and the Maoists gave a written assurance that security would be improved and crimes against the business community punished.

On Monday, Nepal's business fraternity, reeling under extortion, abduction and assaults, perpetrated both by the Maoists and criminal gangs, went on the warpath, announcing an indefinite strike till the government gave them a 'credible assurance' of security.

Over 70 commercial associations began the protests that were soon supported by educational, professional and human rights groups. The strike was called off Wednesday night after a written assurance from the government and the Maoists.

However, the Marwari business community, which had taken part in the protests, said they were not convinced the government would keep its word. The community has been bearing the brunt of abductions by organised crime gangs with over 40 kidnappings having taken place since this year.

The police have not been able to make any arrests so far. None of the abductions have been reported in the local media.

The community says the government and police are biased against it because its members are either of Indian origin or Indians. It is also sharply critical of the Indian government for failing to protect its citizens despite mounting attacks on the community.

A prominent Indian businessman in Nepal, Prakash Dugar, the nephew of Indian artist Indra Dugar, says he was forced to write to Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, asking for help after the embassy in Kathmandu failed to resolve his dispute with the Maoists.

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