The name is Nagar, Ramji Nagar. To anyone who visits Ramji Nagar, located near Trichy in Tamil Nadu, it looks just like a typical village but a digging up a little will reveal you its unmatched notoriety. Yes, Ramji Nagar remains a village of robbers and there are registered cases of theft, dacoity and burglary on the villagers in over three dozen police station across the country. Originally these people are from Andhra Pradesh and are called as ‘Capmaris’ (in Chennai slang ‘capmari’ means swindler). Robbing is something these people are doing for generations. They do it with devotion as if it were their breadwinning occupation and do not have any guilt at this illegal and unethical activity.
In the pre-independence years these people lived near Karur and went about their business of robbing in the neighbouring villages. Unable to bear their robbing atrocities the affected villagers made sure the robbers vacated the place. The government offered these people a place to live near the Ramji Mill in Trichy; they were even provided with jobs in the mill. The capmaris settled in the place and Ramji Nagar came into existence. But these people weren’t ready to mend their ways, they were happy earning a living by robbing.
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In those days people went overseas seeking greener pastures. Ramji Nagar people too went abroad, to countries like Burma (Myanmar) and Malaysia, but to engage in robbery. Over the years the robbers amassed wealth and started to live in posh bungalows. It is said that,people lived in neighbouring villages too took to robbery, on seeing the prosperity of Ramji Nagar residents. Ramji Nagar robbers operate with ease all over India. They choose an auspicious day for any robbing operation and before every robbery they worship their deity in the locality with special offerings. After a successful loot, they go to Kanyakumari to cleanse their sin by way of washing their feet in the ‘Thriveni Snagamam’.
These robbers have their own ethics; whatever is the situation they won’t kill a person while robbing. If caught while robbing, they find a willing usurper who would admit doing the crime. The usurper is called ‘konnaiyan’ and he is paid handsomely by the person who engages his ‘service’. When attempt big Ramji Nagar residents go in huge numbers; as almost all the men from the village is gone, for days there would hardly be the presence of males there. Police forces from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and other States would often keep watch in the outskirts of the village to nab persons from the village engaged in a loot or dacoity in their respective State.
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Police call these people as ‘Ramji Nagar Gang’. Their modus operandi is flawless. They will arrive in groups of 10-20 with a leader (he travels in luxury AC coach or by air). They have a definite work charter; each member is assigned a specific task. Adults concentrated on actual commission, while juveniles stand as sentinels for lookout. They even have a cook and a washerman to hold fort and be self sufficient. Thus the Ramji Nagar robbers have constituted a legend-like narrative so contemporary and intriguing, but one wishes they join the mainstream society by abandoning this daredevilry way of living.