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Three Hindu traders kidnapped in Pakistan

July 14, 2012 21:29 IST

Three prominent Hindu businessmen were kidnapped, along with their driver, by unidentified armed men in Sindh province of southern Pakistan on Saturday.

The businessmen -- Ramesh Lal, Ashok Kumar and Hari Ram -- were abducted with their driver in Ranipur area of Sindh, said Pakistan Hindu Council patron Ramesh Kumar Vankwani.

In addition to being a prominent trader, Lal is the president of the Hindu panchayat of Thul sub-division of Jacobabad district.

The businessmen were going from Karachi to Jacobabad city when they were abducted.

The driver was recovered during a search operation conducted by the police.

Several members of the minority Hindu community, especially traders, have been kidnapped in Sindh and Balochistan provinces over the past few years.

The abductions have been blamed on militant groups and criminal gangs.

"The law and order situation is not very good and the kidnapping of Hindu traders for ransom is increasing. They are seen as easy targets," Vankwani said.

He said the driver was later found by some villagers.

Vankwani said until now, the families of the kidnapped businessmen had not received any calls for ransom.

"I informed the police and district police officer immediately after the incident took place and we came to know about it," Ramesh said.

"The police arecooperating but they also appear helpless as the kidnapping of Hindu traders is now becoming a regular incident in the interior areas of Sindh," he added.

A family member of one of the kidnapped traders, Ramesh Lal, confirmed that they had got a call but no ransom demand had been made as yet.

Rezaul H Laskar In Islamabad
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