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February 3, 2000
Hunt on for man who abducted teen
J M Shenoy
Shalu Aggarwal does not deny she was a friend of Ikram, who was a year or two older. But a point came when the 19-year-old daughter of a single working mother decided to cut off the relationship. Ikram had asked her to marry him and she had firmly said "no".
Last week, Ikram allegedly kidnapped Shalu at gunpoint after first beating her mother. Shalu's mother had to be rushed to hospital and the police began hunting for Ikram.
Aggarwal returned home the next day after she alerted the police from a clothing store. According to family members, she pleaded with Ikram to take her to a store to buy clothes.
He reportedly got suspicious and fled before the police arrived.
Community activists say the case raises other concerns than those of security, and that of punishment for the abductor. Two other south Asian girls had also run away with men in the last few months.
"In all three cases, it involved single south Asian mothers," said activist Vijay Pallod. "The young girls were reportedly frustrated with the hardships."
He suggested the young women were seeking a relief from poverty and boredom." He also felt there was a lack of communication between parents and children.
"One of the girls who ran away was very beautiful," he said. "But she lacked self-confidence."
According to investigators, Ikram had gone to the Aggarwal home to reclaim Shalu's affection.
When he was told to leave, he first left and then broke in through a bedroom window.
Ikram struck the mother on the leg and forced the daughter to go with him, detectives said. Family members say he had hit her with his gun and she was semiconscious when he dragged her out of the house.
He faces more than 10 years in prison for assault and kidnapping if he is convicted.
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