Patna: Though the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal-United government is desperately trying to take Bihar out from the 'dark ages', a fresh report from the state's police is sure to give a cultural shock to those who think that situation has improved in Bihar.
A report from Bihar Police claims that more than 3,400 youths were kidnapped for forced marriage, locally known as "Pakadua Vivah" in Bihar in the year 2017.
"Pakadua Vivah is rampant in Bihar. About 3,405 youths have been kidnapped for forced marriage in the state, '' the report stated.
''In most of the cases, 'Pakadua Vivah' was solemnised at gunpoint or threats to their life and their families," a senior Bihar Police official was quoted as saying by IANS.
Last month, the 'forced marriage of 'pakadua vivah' of an engineer in a village in Patna grabbed national headlines when he refused to keep his newly-wed wife after he was abducted and forced to marry at gunpoint.
According to the official data, about 3,070 youths were kidnapped for 'pakadua vivah' in the state in 2016, 3,000 in 2015 and 2,526 in 2014.
"In all such cases, either the youths and or parents were forced at gunpoint to give their consent for 'pakadua vivah'," the official said.
Going by the police records, at least nine cases of 'pakadua vivah' are registered daily in the state.
Taking the number of increasing 'pakadua vivah' seriously, the state police has asked all the district Superintendents of Police to be on the alert to check such incidents in the coming marriage season, known as "lagan" beginning this month.
Mahender Yadav, an activist working in flood-prone Koshi region in northern Bihar, said kidnapping for 'pakadua vivah' is nothing unusual in the state. It has been reported for years. "What is alarming is that its number is increasing".
Many like him agree that 'pakadua vivah' is an old social problem in Bihar due to the demand for dowry.
A National Crime Records Bureau Report 2015 - which is the most recent official figure available - confirms that Bihar is at the top in the country when it comes to the abduction of above 18-year-old males.
The number of abducted males in Bihar in the 18 to 30 age-group was 1,096 in 2015. The state alone accounted for nearly 17 per cent of the national figure in the category.
(With IANS inputs)