Sources said that the five men- mastermind Mohar Singh Pardi, Rusi Pardi, Kaliya Pardi, Brajmohan Pardi and Mahesh Pardi – are turning out to be tough nuts to crack since the sleuths started grilling them from Tuesday. The police team had earlier arrested two other members of the same community in connection with the crime.
The sources also noted that the five men – picked up from two prisons in Madhya Pradesh – have been refusing to talk in Hindi and only choosing to communicate in the Pardi dialect. This has turned out to be a major hurdle for the investigators as nobody is familiar with the language here.
Prior to Deepavali, investigators had to spend two days in Stanley hospital after Brajmohan - one of the suspects – complained of severe stomach pain and started ‘screaming with pain’. After two days of tests, the medical team told the police that he was perfectly fit and had been acting sick. “He was malingering,” an official noted.
“We are yet to find out how the gang came to know about the money wagon. Someone must have tipped them off about the passenger train from Salem to Chennai on the night of August 8, 2016, having a wagon full of money,” one of the sources said. Tamil Nadu CB-CID officials are claiming that they were 200 per cent sure that the seven arrested were involved in the case.
However, Matin Bhosle, a member of Pardi community and an activist who runs a school named Question Mark Adivasi School in Aamravati district in Maharashtra, said that the police has always treated members of his community as criminals for many decades now. “Britishers branded the Pardi community as a criminal tribe. Even 70 years after Independence, we are being treated as criminals,” he noted.
In 2010, TN police had cited Pardi community members as suspects in a case of robbery at Old Perungalathur.
Pardi, a ‘criminal’ tribe
Pardhi tribe is found mostly in Maharashtra and parts of MP, but small numbers can be found in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. In some parts of India Pardhis are known as Meywarees. Pardhis speak mixed dialects of Rajasthani and Gujarati mainly Wagdi language and Pardhi language. They were prolific hunters. They were experts in ancient weaponry like bows & arrows, swords and hunting traps. They were a nuisance for the British Empire along with other 150 Tribes of India and to keep them in check, British brought the Criminal Tribes Act and branded these tribes as criminals from birth. The criminal branding of the tribe goes back to 1871 after the British passed the “Criminal Tribes Act”.