PATNA: Jurabganj village in Kodha block of Bihar’s Katihar district has of late acquired the dubious distinction of being a nerve centre of crimes of all hues not only in Bihar but also in other states. The network of the gang is spread over Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Maharashtra. Police officials from those states frequented Kodha police station in search of the member of the gang nicknamed ‘Kodha Gang’ of Katihar.
Interestingly, the children are given training by village elders to commit crimes and to bear torture, in case caught. Jubrganj, with a population of over 1,500, is located next to the national highway. The pucca buildings with latest electronic gadgets and luxurious lifestyle of the residents of Jurabganj have made the residents of neighbouring villages envious of them.
Initially the gang members were involved in petty crimes like pick-pocking and theft in shops and houses. Later they graduated to crimes like cash loot, bank robbery, dacoity and theft in big jewellery shops. As per the police, the members of the gang offer ‘puja’ (prayer) of their ‘kul devta’ (deity) before leaving for their ‘destination’. The leader of the gang is paid cut money by the members in lieu of help in security bail from courts after being caught by police or by public on the site of occurrence.
The station house officer (SHO) of the Kodha police station, Rupak Ranjan Singh, said, “We have received over 150 cases against members of Kodha gang from Bihar and other states in the last 18 months.” The members of ‘Kichchat’ tribe, who migrated from Rajasthan decades ago and settled here, took to crime as their source of livelihood.
The children were trained by seniors how to commit crime and bear the physical torture if caught on the scene of crime. “The children are coached by seniors, who were earlier involved in ‘lucrative business’ but have now become inactive obviously because of their age,” a police officer said.
The crime investigation department (CID) of the Bihar police had conducted a detailed investigation and prepared a list of active members. The gang is led by one Rakesh Gwala. According to locals, women of the village can be spotted wearing gold ornaments and spending lavishly in the local market at Gerbari.
Signs of change
Of late, Jurabgani is showing signs of changing. Some residents have shifted their children to urban areas for education. A retired colonel, a resident of the same village, is said to be the brain behind the social change.