In a case of mass kidnapping, a group of over 100 people from a village in Madhya Pradesh allegedly kidnapped 38 tribal women and children from Rajasthan on suspicion that their men were involved in stealing bikes, the police said on Thursday.
The Rajasthan Police, however, managed to free the women and children from Madhya Pradesh within hours and arrested six of the alleged kidnappers. Weapons and the cars used in the kidnapping have been seized, the police said.
The incident happened in Rajasthan's Jhalwar district. The accused are from Ratlam district in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan Police officer Bhanwar Singh said.
Mr Singh said several families of the Kanjar tribe live in makeshifts tents at the interstate border under his police station area. They are often suspected to be involved in crimes in the area by locals, he added.
The provocation for the mass kidnapping was the theft of a bike of a person from neighbouring Ratlam district, the police officer said.
Following the theft, over 100 men of village Kalasiya, armed with guns, iron rods and lathis, reached Bamandevriya and Hajdia villages, where the tribe lived, in a bus, a car and several motorcycles, said Mr Singh.
They surrounded the makeshift tents of the tribe and tried to round up the men, who they accused of stealing bikes, the police officer said. However, no man was seen at the village at that time. The men who came from Madhya Pradesh then the 38 women and children into a bus and sped towards their village in Madhya Pradesh, said Mr Singh.
The police on hearing about the incident formed a team and chased the speeding bus. The bus driver and the kidnappers dropped the women on a road in Madhya Pradesh before they could reach their village.
The police said a case has been filed against some 100 people for kidnapping and rioting, among other charges.
The operation to rescue the kidnapped women was guided by Additional Superintended of Police Rajesh Yadav and Deputy SP Brijmohan Meena.