As the country's economy booms and millions make the leap from poverty to the ranks of the new middle class, there has been a rise in kidnapping for ransom. I guess there is always a price to pay for emerging economies. Insurers now rank India as the fifth most dangerous country in the world for kidnapping, with one US firm warning this June that westerners should now also consider themselves targets.
India's National Human Rights Commission estimated that 60,000 children go missing nationwide every year and unfortunately no less than a third are found. Some of the victims are taken to work in factories or end up as beggars. Figures from Delhi police show that kidnap for ransom is on the increase. In 2008, there were 1,233 cases in the capital; last year that figure had soared to 2,975 and in the first three months of 2011, 802 cases were registered. The Indian police are often too slow to react and the perpetrators often panic, killing their captives
There were two cases of boys being taken in Delhi in December 2010, with ransom demands of £20,000 and £1,300. Both victims were killed. Then in January 2011 there was another one with the boy killed because his father would not pay the £545 ransom. Even those who pay have no guarantee of seeing their children again. In December, five-year-old Khushpreet Singh Khushi was kidnapped near Chandigarh. His parents paid 400,000 rupees (£5,455) as a ransom...his body was recovered in January.
Occasionally, just occasionally India's kidnapping cases do have a happy ending. This April, in Delhi 18-month-old Ishaan Singh was rescued from a gang hoping to secure 20 million rupees (£270,000) ransom from his family.
However, for too many parents, all that is left of their children are painful memories just like Yash Lakhotia; his parents Anita and Anil Lakhotia are left destroyed. Yash's father has said, "I can't imagine how scared he was when it happened to him, and I was not there for him. Everyone wants to protect their child, but we were helpless. You can't protect them all the time. You have to let them go out. I suddenly realised it was a case of kidnapping and thought we would just have to pay the ransom and get him back.” It was never to be.