Provoked by the latest kidnapping of a schoolboy, this time a 14-year-old, people in India's lawless state of Bihar have taken to the streets to say enough is enough. Most schools have been closed for the past few days as children and teachers protest against the near-total anarchy that prevails. Kidnappings have become so commonplace that ordinary people cannot go to work or send children to school without elaborate security arrangements. Kislay Kaushal was seized as he tried to board his school bus in the city of Patna a week ago. His abductors pushed him into a car and sped away. No ransom demand has so far been made. Students and teachers have resorted to holding special prayer services and mobilising public opinion against the breakdown of law and order that has given Bihar the reputation of a failed state. 'Many of my students, especially those from business families, come to school with armed guards. How abnormal can it get?' said Ramunuj Prasad, principal of DAV Valmik School where Kislay studies. When businessmen, doctors, surgeons, teachers and engineers in Bihar go to work, they take an armed guard or carry a gun because so many professionals or their children have been kidnapped and their families forced to pay ransoms. A news magazine recently carried a photograph of a paediatrician in Patna examining a baby with two armed men standing by to bar criminals from entering the clinic to kidnap him. A few months ago, a doctor was murdered in his Patna clinic for refusing to pay the monthly 'protection' money demanded by criminal gangs. Doctors fortify their clinics with metal detectors and closed-circuit cameras and surround their homes with spiked high walls because, almost every month, one or two doctors are kidnapped. The number of kidnappings every month ranges from seven to 10. Even teachers - not a particularly well paid group - who coach students in their spare time are targeted. As they spread their net for victims wider, kidnappers are dropping their standards, seizing shopkeepers, tea-shop owners, and even bus conductors and demanding ransoms of just $100. Bihar's de facto ruler, Laloo Prasad Yadav - whose wife acts as a proxy chief minister - responded to the wave of protests by saying the police were 'on the job' and that Bihar was being unfairly maligned.