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Immediate govt actions called for

An increase in the abduction of children, held to ransom, in recent times is, indeed, alarming. According to a New Age report on Saturday, at least six schoolchildren in five districts were found dead in the last 10 days of January after they had been kidnapped with the families failing to pay the ransom kidnappers demanded. In line with statistics of the police headquarters, 879 people, predominantly children and businessmen, were kidnapped in 2013, the highest number of such cases in a single year since 2004. What is more worrisome is that although, as the data maintained by the force showed, the Rapid Action Battalion rescued 119 victims of abduction, including 20 children, and arrested 184 alleged abductors in 2013, none of the law enforcement agencies has so far been able to identify the gangs involved in recent cases. In this context, one has, indeed, hardly any reason to differ with the criminologist, also a Dhaka University teacher, who said that the criminals took the advantage of non-enforcement of the relevant laws or half-heated action by law enforcers that have predilections for lackadaisical approach, especially when it comes to rescuing the victims not belonging to powerful or influential quarters.
The lukewarm response of the crime-busting units, including the police, to the abduction cases is, in fact, not isolated from their failure to fight crimes, petty ones like mugging, extortion, etc and serious ones like killing, rape, etc, that have seen a significant surge in the past few years. One willing to dig deeper can also hold responsible for the problem the unabated state of denial of the key functionaries of the incumbent Awami League-led government, particularly the home minister, during its previous tenure about the ground realities in terms of law and order. None can deny that given that situation, the police in particular were emboldened to largely remain indifferent to their stipulated responsibilities.
Be that as it may, the top brass of the home ministry need immediately to come down to earth in the first place and make people responsible for dealing with crimes become serious about rendering the duty. At the same time, as mentioned in these columns on several occasions earlier, the ethical section of society needs to come forward with its sustained voice over the issue as well. It is all the more important as only mounting public pressure on the government indifferent to public safety and security can make a difference.

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