Even as Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar seeks participation of children in large numbers in state government’s human chain, the killing of three school children and kidnapping of another three in the past 24 hours have raised a question mark over the success of the programme and have exposed the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

The government has planned to form world’s longest human chain against dowry and child marriage on 21 January, for which the chief minister is making repeated appeals to the masses to join the human chain to make it a huge success.

In capital city Patna, a class nine student was brutally murdered shortly after being kidnapped for ransom. The victim Raunak Kumar, son of a property dealer, was on his way to school when he was kidnapped by some motorcycle-borne miscreants yesterday. Subsequently, a case was registered with the local police but today his body was recovered from a shop in the state capital, triggering strong protests in the area.
According to police, the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of Rs 25 lakh.

“The police kept us assuring that my son is safe and will be recovered soon but today they handed us his body,” said a family member of the victim. The police, however, said the victim was killed soon after he was kidnapped and that they have arrested the main accused. “The arrested person has confessed to the crime. A charge-sheet will be filed soon,” Patna’s senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj said.
Another schoolboy was killed by kidnappers in Betia area of West Champaran district.

The five-year-old victim Veer Kumar Singh of LKG was kidnapped last evening when he was playing outside with his friends. Today his body was recovered from a safety tank of a building under construction. The victim was the lone child of his parents.

Yet another murder of a schoolboy was reported from Bhabua, the headquarters of Kaimur district. The five-year-old victim had been missing since last week after which a case was registered with the local police. On Thursday, his body was recovered from a well.

Five more school children, four of them girls, were kidnapped from Gaya district yesterday while on their way to a coaching centre. According to reports, the victims were waiting for a vehicle, when a car suddenly stopped near them and offered them lift, promising to drop them at the designated place.

However, soon after they took lift, the car picked up speed. Sensing some foul play, two of the girls opened the door and jumped out of the car and it was then that the entire story came to light. Three schoolchildren, however, are still missing.

The Opposition today mounted heavy attacks on the government describing the incidents as “total collapse” of the law and order situation in Bihar.

“Criminals and kidnappers are roaming around freely while the government is silent. Why is the BJP, especially Sushil Kumar Modi, who routinely talked about ‘jungle raj’ when the RJD was in power is mysteriously silent now?” asked Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav. He said the situation had come to a sorry pass since “the present government has come to power by stealing people’s mandate.”