A protest over the abduction of some members of the minority Hindu community by bandits in riverine areas continued in Sindh’s Kashmore on Monday for the fourth consecutive day.

Dr Chand Mahar, one of the individuals leading the protest, told Dawn.com over the phone that the demonstration was being staged at Dera More — an area near the Sindh-Punjab border — since Friday last week.

“Around three members of the Hindu community have been in dacoits’ captivity after they were recently intercepted by them,” he said, adding that a Muslim doctor had also been held captive for the past 40 days.

The abductees have been identified as Mukhi Jagdish Kumar, Sagar Kumar, Jaideep Kumar and Dr Munir Naij.

Among them, Mukhi was 72-year-old businessman and Jaideep was nine years old, Dr Mahar said, adding that they were kidnapped from Kashmore taluka. Sagar was also abducted from Kashmore city while Naij was kidnapped in Guddu around 40 days back, he said.

Protests over their abduction, as well as increasing incidents of robberies in Sindh, were also held in several other cities in the province yesterday, with the relatives of the victims demanding their early and safe recovery.

The protesters, including people from all faiths, also demanded an operation by the army and Rangers against the kidnappers and bandits.

Dr Mahar, who is also the senior vice president of PPP’s minority wing in Sindh, said today that people were “fed up with these kidnappings”.

“Everyone is asking us to call off the protest but hostages are still in dacoits’ captivity,” he added.

He said Kashmore Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Amjad Sheikh had assured the protesters that the hostages would be recovered soon.

Dr Mahar estimated that around 40 people had been kidnapped by riverine bandits during the last few months. “Some of them were released after the payment of ransom,” he added.

“We are taken as easy prey by dacoits as far as the payment of ransom is concerned. Since most of them (members of the Hindu community) run businesses, they are kidnapped by dacoits,” he explained.

Dr Lal Chand Ukrani, president of the PPP’s minority wing in Sindh, echoed the same concern as Dr Mahar.

“We [Hindus] are easy targets,” he said. “Muslims are also kidnapped but Hindus are an easy target for ransom.”

He said he had raised the matter with former chief minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah and had been in talks with him over the issue before the end of his tenure “because the law and order situation in upper Sindh is very bad, especially in Kashmore”.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahar mentioned that three girls from the area — Nazia, Priya Kumari and Kasuar Khoso — had also been missing.

Dawn.com reached the Kashmore SSP for a comment but he was unavailable.

On Sunday, caretaker Sindh Home Minister Haris Nawaz while talking to the media in Thatta said a plan has been finalised for launching an operation against bandits in the riverine areas of Jacobabad and Shikarpur and the next phase of operation would be more result-oriented.

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