Gandhinagar: They looted for a living and raped - even sodomised - the victims to ensure silence!
Five of the nine-member gang that indulged in this activity are now behind bars and under interrogation as the cops seek to zero in on the remnants of what is loosely termed as the `devipujak` (goddess worshippers) gang.
"The arrests have helped solve robberies and the heinous crime of rape and sodomy carried out in various parts of the state including Gandhinagar, Vadodara, Surat, Amreli and Sanand," said Rajiv Ranjan Bhagat, Superintendent of police, Ahmedabad (rural) here Saturday.
The last incident was when the gang attacked two families of tribal labourers at a village near Sanand in Ahmedabad district on July 14. The robbers were tracking the tribal families and chose the night before they were set to leave for home in Rajasthan to attack. The gang looted the two families of Rs 38,000 and raped their women.
"The two women were gang raped before their menfolk and children to ensure that they do not go to the police," Bhagat said, adding that the ruse did not work because the tribals approached the police.
Acting on the slender clue that the robbers were drunk, the cops zeroed in on the hooch joints in the vicinity for information and got a lead. A stolen mobile added up to the clues through technical surveillance leading to the arrest of 25-year-old Raju Jilliya. He spilled the beans under interrogation leading to the arrest of Gitla Chunara, 20, Shanko Chunara, 22, Viram Vedva, 20, and Rajo Chunara, 24.
Ironically all the rapist-robbers hail from a clan of `Goddess worshippers` (Devi-pujaks) from Botad in Bhavnagar district of Saurashtra region. The gang as part of its strategy identifies the target and stalks for days before zeroing in. There is a ritualistic consumption of liquor before the gang moves in for the `kill`.
While the Sanand tribal family confirmed that eight people had barged into their shanties, Raju confirmed it was a nine-member team.
According to Bhagat, the gang was also involved in looting several temples in Saurashtra including in Amreli where they sodomised the priests in similar fashion to ensure silence.
The arrested culprits have also admitted to a robbery-cum-gang rape in Surat about four months ago. "The possibility of the involvement of these men who are all married, in many more such cases is high," said the police chief.