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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 10:54 GMT
Police rescue abducted Bihar boy
By Abishek Prabhat
BBC News, Delhi

Protesting children in Patna, Bihar
Students had marched on the governor's house in protest
Police in the Indian state of Bihar say they have rescued a boy whose abduction sparked huge protests by school pupils.

The 14-year-old boy, Kishalay Gupta, was kidnapped from outside his house in state capital, Patna, on 19 January.

Pupils marched on the governor's house and staged fasts and prayer meetings, turning kidnappings into a major issue for this month's state elections.

Bihar is widely believed India's most lawless state where extortionists and kidnappers regularly target the rich.

Opposition parties say the release, on the eve of the first round of state polls, shows the ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal party has links with the kidnappers - a charge the administration denies.

Three missing

Senior police superintendent of Patna, NH Khan, said Kishalay was rescued from a house in a rural area of the city.

He said the boy was abducted by a criminal gang and police had now arrested three of the kidnappers.

Bihar politician Laloo Prasad Yadav
Mr Yadav said opponents blew the issue out of proportion

Kishalay, who has been reunited with his parents, said he was grateful to God and to his fellow students who worked hard to make his release possible.

Four other students were abducted in Bihar after Kishalay. There are reports that one has been rescued in the city of Bhagalpur but the other three are still missing.

The abductions led to a wave of protests by school students across Bihar.

Last Friday, more than 1,000 marched on the Bihar governor's residence.

Hundreds of students had earlier gone on a day-long strike to press for the early release of Kishalay and the others.

The abductions have dominated the election, with opposition parties saying the kidnappings reflect the state's poor law and order situation.

However, the governing Rashtriya Janata Dal party has accused the opposition and media of projecting a negative image of Bihar.

Now Kishalay is free, a fresh war of words has begun between the two sides.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has accused the state government of having links with the kidnappers.

"For so long the police were clueless and suddenly they have recovered the boy just a day before the first round of voting," said BJP leader, Sushil Modi.

Ruling party chief, Laloo Prasad Yadav, dismissed the accusation and said it was clear the opposition had blown the issue out of proportion.

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