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Pastor poses as rebel to rob

Pastor: a minister in charge of a Christian church or group

Robber: someone who steals from a person or place, especially using violence or threats

Naxalite: an ultra-Left person who advocates radical militancy

Ranchi, Nov. 9: Vinay Tigga owns all three definitions with fantastic aplomb. Pastor of Kashipiri Church in Silli on the outskirts of the capital, he is a robber dressed up like a Naxalite.

SSP Saket Kumar Singh introduced this stranger-than-fiction character at a news meet today, producing six members of his gang but admitting that Tigga was still at large.

Since early this year, pastor Tigga has been masterminding a series of robberies in the outskirts of Ranchi.

To strike fear in the hearts of his victims and prevent them from mustering courage to file FIRs, his 13-member gang, including three women, adopted the Naxalites’ dress code — camouflage suits.

SSP Singh identified the six members of Tigga’s gang as Sunil Kacchap, Birsa Oraon, Rajendra Bedia, Jitram Bedia, Munni Kumari and Kamla Devi, all in their early twenties.

“Tigga’s gang operated mostly in Tatisilway, Angara, Sikidiri and Silli police station areas,” the SSP said, adding they were nabbed after raids yesterday. The police also seized three sets of camouflage uniforms.

“Though the gang conducted over a dozen robberies, taking cash, jewellery and other valuables, terrified villagers thought this was a Naxalite outfit and in most cases did not file FIRs. Only three were reported. The first FIR was filed with Tatisilway police on April 24, with one each on June 13 and July 4 at Silli and Angara,” Singh said.

In villages, said the SSP, people identified camouflage clothing with either security forces or Naxalites. They had away to differentiated between the two — security personnel are all tall men, while rebels are of all heights and may include women.

“Arresting Tigga is now our priority. All efforts are being made to round him up along with six other members who are still on the run,” Singh said.

Before Thursday’s breakthrough, the police conducted a long and arduous process of interrogating more than 100 people with criminal records in Silli, Angara, Sikidiri and Tatisilway areas.

Answers indicated the pastor, he said. Tigga was also questioned four months ago, but let off due to lack of proof.

Robberies stopped as the gang decided to lie low. Finally, Kacchap broke down and confessed. Based on his information, five more were arrested.