Infants, minor girls targets of kidnappers

As kidnap cases cross 1,000 in Bengaluru for second year in a row, police say many of them relate to teenagers running away to marry.

Kidnapping cases in Bengaluru crossed a thousand in 2018. Police registered 1,111 cases in the year that was, and say they have cracked 925 of them. The number of kidnap cases was 956 in 2016 and 1041 in 2017.

Alok Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime), says more infants and minors are becoming targets of kidnapping.

Also, the numbers have increased after the Supreme Court ruled that cases of missing persons below 18 years be registered as kidnapping cases. “However, we don’t see an increase in professional kidnapping,” he says.

Kidnappers do seek a ransom, but they are not so serious about it, he says. “In Bengaluru, kidnappings take place mostly to settle personal scores or financial disputes,” he told Metrolife. “The kidnappers are unemployed and semi-employed youth.” 

Many cases of kidnap eventually turn out to be elopement, he says. “Girls between 16 and 18 years run away from home to get married, but legally, they aren’t of marriageable age. The couple would have already developed physical intimacy and in some cases, the girl is pregnant as well. So the girl’s parents register a missing complaint,” he says.

Inter-caste and inter-religious marriages often lead to kidnapping cases being lodged. When it comes to girls below 18, investigation is complicated because they switch off their phones and don’t contact their parents and relatives for days. “We have to use other means to trace them,” he says.

Alok Kumar feels open communication between parents and children could address the elopement problem.  “The tendency for young girls and boys to elope has increased after 2010. We have noticed parents indulging their children. They are scared that if they resist, they may either run away or contemplate suicide,” he says.

Prof Anitha Kurup, academic head, PhD programmes, and professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, calls for better communication between parents and children. 

“Youngsters who have started earning think they can take decisions for themselves. They have now begun to look at relationships independently as adults, with parents’ consent coming only later,” she says.

When a girl gets into a relationship without the backing of the family, she becomes vulnerable as she moves into the boy’s household, she explains.

The tendency of families to impose traditional methods of finding an alliance has widened the gap between parents and children. 

“Families are doing pretty well when parents move into the role of facilitators rather than decision makers. But friction arises in families where children want the freedom to make independent decisions and parents are not willing to give in,” she says.

Changing social structures have given youngsters more time with each other. This was not the case two decades ago. Cases of kidnap may happen when one partner is serious and the other is not, says Kurup.

Some kidnap cases 

- Daughter of a single parent runs away from home and attempts suicide. She is run over by a train but survives with both legs cut. (elopement case)

- A 21-year-old girl is kidnapped from Seshadripuram. Her father’s former employee is behind the crime. The motive is a financial dispute.

- A nine-month-old infant is abducted when her parents are moving house in Marathahalli. However, it is rescued within 24 hours.

- The most sensational case is that of businessman Nirmal Kumar Jaipuria. He was kidnapped for a ransom a decade ago. The case was cracked in a week’s time. There has been no major case of kidnap in the city after this.

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