Kidnapped Indian teen freed in Nepal
Mar 26, 2007 - 12:20:10 PM

Kathmandu, March 26 - An Indian teen who was kidnapped in broad daylight from here Saturday has been released unhurt after his family and school successfully negotiated with his abductors.

Vivek Agarwal, a ninth grader student, was left by his kidnappers near the city's famous pilgrim site, the Pashupatinath temple, after his family paid a ransom of NRS 500,000.

The 14-year-old was kidnapped Saturday morning from the busy Bhote Bahal area of the capital while he was going to his school, Green Peace Co-Educational School, to appear for the final examinations.

A taxi and a motorcycle were lurking in a narrow alley near the school and when the unsuspecting boy came near, four men loitering there pounced on him and dragged him inside the waiting cab.

Though the teen struggled and shouted for help, the abduction took place so fast that the shopkeepers in the vicinity had no chance to come to his aid.

However, one nimble-witted radio shop owner had the presence of mind to jot down the taxi number and phone the school, informing them that one of their students had been kidnapped.

Within an hour of the incident, Vivek's family received the first call for ransom, demanding NRS 4 million.

To show their support for the family, the school deputed a teacher to stay with the family and tackle the calls. Finally, after several negotiations, the family was able to make the kidnappers agree to take NRS 500000 and free the boy.

Vivek's father Lal Chand Agarwal is a businessman, owning a garments shop in the capital's commercial heart, the New Road area.

Unlike his namesake, Nepali kindergarten student Vivek Luitel, who was strangled by his kidnappers, the Indian Vivek had a different experience.

A day after his ordeal, he appeared for his examination Sunday, where he told his friends and the school authorities that he had been treated extremely well.

Two men, who were put in charge of him, plied him with soft drinks, good food and took him on rides in the valley's Kapan area, known for its Buddhist monasteries.

They even called up Vivek's family after releasing him to enquire if the teen had reached home safely.

'We know he has been appearing for his school exams and he missed a paper,' they told the flummoxed family.

'If the school makes any fuss about letting him appear for the rest of the papers, just tell us,' the kidnappers said. 'We'll call up the school and fix the problem.'

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