06/30/2009, 00.00
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Nepal: escalation of kidnappings and violence against businessmen

by Kalpit Parajuli
Last week more than a dozen kidnappings. Many Indian entrepreneurs leave the country in fear. Kathmandu Minister for the Interior: The situation is critical and is in danger of getting beyond our control. The police ask for tougher laws and complain about "political and other forms of protection" of criminals. In the country there is a climate of impunity.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - In Nepal kidnappings and violence against businessmen is increasing. Over the past week there have been more than a dozen seizures.

Kush Kumar Joshi, director of the Chamber of Commerce of Nepal, says that "more than 80% of kidnappings in the country affect the businessmen’s family members" and he has called for "immediate government action to ensure full security, otherwise we will be forced to close businesses and factories. "   In the town of Birgunj, bordering the south of the country, more than 20 Indian businessmen have decided to return home to continue their activities. "How can we follow our business - says Surendra Malakar, a Nepalese businessmen - if we do not even have the guarantee of returning alive from work. They shoot at us on our way to the office or on the way home. We are at risk everywhere, and there is no certainty. "

Bharat Bahadur GC, deputy director of the Metropolitan Police in Kathmandu, tells AsiaNews that the increase in crime is due to a certain laxity in applying the law and the climate of impunity that reigns in the country. "To control this type of crime we need specific and more stringent legislation, and to develop an intelligence that controls the offenders once released from jail”.  But Bahadur, complains that the police often have their hands tied because many criminals have "political protection and other forms of protection."  

The government is struggling to contain the escalation in crimes. Bhim Rawal, Minister for the Interior recognizes the "critical situation" in which his country finds itself and adds: "If we do not take timely measures, the situation will soon be beyond our control."

Among the most glaring cases of abduction is that of 17 year-old Khyati Shrestha, kidnapped June 5th in Kathmandu. Although the parents had paid the ransom, 1 million rupees (more than 9 thousand euros), the girl was raped, killed and parts of his body were found in various places around the capital. The episode has sparked violent protest among the population. Despite the fact that on June 21st  police arrested the two kidnappers criticism of the government on safety issues are growing by the day along with the recurrence of violence, kidnappings and murders.

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