|Lord W. Bentinck (1774 - 1839) & Col. H. W. Sleeman (1788 - 1856) Gov. General of India.boloji.com|
Though the cult group of Indian thugs had been active since 13th century, no Indian ruler had any clue whatsoever about their modus operandi and their organizations until the arrival of the British on the Indian scene.
As the British East India company was very busy with their expansion of trade on one hand, and land-grabbing from the Indian Maharajahs and Nawobs on the other hand, the ''thuggee issue'' was a big hurdle and literally they were bogged down by it. Handicapped by lack of police force, they were unable to come up with a proper way of dealing with the dangerous thugs. Because the entire operations of thugs were based on secret code of language and perfect coordination under a leader; something like secret mafia operations of USA and Sicily. British company officials did not create a police department, as there was no necessity to do so. The thuggee operations were successful because of absence of an efficient law enforcement or some kind of security forces for the protection of travelers.
|Thug and the loot. ClipartFest|
It took a long time for them to find out the mystery behind the disappearance of thousands of innocent travelers in the bordering areas of jungles of India. A great deal of investigation such as inquiry, gathering information, tailing suspicious characters, etc was done. But it was not good enough.
The British, at last, got a major break through in the mystery, when they received several reports on the accidental discovery of innumerable mass graves in the wooded, remote areas across northern India slightly away from the frequently traveled routes. The farmers or farm workers reported that they frequently ran in to several dead bodies buried in the fields or in abandoned wells. However, the matter was not given serious attention in the beginning. Each site, it was reported, had piles of decomposed bodies, skeletons of only male individuals (no children and no women) ritually murdered in one particular way - strangulation. An another surprising fact was the burial of bodies in the same fashion with utmost care. The same pattern was followed in all regions and the burial places almost in areas slightly were far away from the frequently traveled routes. Further, invariably most of the wooded areas were bordering the heavily wooded jungles (if suspicion arose, the culprits could slip and hide in the jungle). A kaleidoscopic pattern emerged that led to the positive conclusion.
Now, it was confirmed that the mind-boggling killings were done by groups or gangs of obnoxious thugs of some tribes across northern India, For the British, who had been groping
in the dark, the break-through was a blessing in disguise and immediately they got into serious investigation - detailed data on their organizations, cult, where and how they carried out their criminal activities, contacts, their modus operandi, etc.
Sir William Henry Sleeman, superintendent, Thuggee and Dacoity Dept. in 1835, was a Bengal Army officer, who, from early on dedicated his career to the get rid of thuggee. Later, he became its Commissioner in 1839 and took serious efforts to get rid of the criminal gangs.
The British adopted the following methods to put down the activities of thuggee:
01. They gathered complete details on their criminal activities - travel routes, areas of activities, gangs involved, etc.
03. Details of their techniques to hoodwink the gullible were circulated among the travelers and long distance travelers were advised to be extra careful with strangers who would feign to be nice and take the listener for a ride - ultimately to their grave.
04. Names and detailed information on the travel routes frequented by the thuggee.
05. They pried out as much information as possible from the captured thugs such as size of groups,their secret codes or signal, time of attack, methods of coordination, behavior of gang after attack, disposal of victims, etc.
06. The Thuggee and Dacoity Department, introduced special tribunals and a police force for smooth conduct of criminal proceedings without any interruptions from local influence.
At that time Indian rulers as well as big land owners were terribly upset over the way British took over their lands. The Indian soldiers resented oppressive and discriminatory attitude of the British officials. So, some local chieftains tried to protect the thugs, who, themselves hated British rulers. The chieftains unfortunately, were nor aware that the thugs were really serial killers.
The credit goes to East India company officials - William Bentinck, Governor-General of India, and his chief captain William Henry Sleeman in the 1830s who really worked hard to put down the worst criminal gangs in the world who in the name of a Hindu Goddess formed a cult and killed innocent travelers in tens of thousands. By 1870, the cult became inactive and extinct. However, the British introduced Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871 and pathetically hundreds of law-abiding tribes were clubbed within the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871. Consequently countless innocent tribes carried the tag of "thug" and stoically suffered a lot.
Glad the British had succeeded in liquidating the Indian thugs for good in the late 1800's. As far as patriotic Indians were concerned, they very much resented the fate of being ruled by foreign rulers who had plundered and exploited the Indian sub continent as much as they could for more than 200 years, besides creating worst famines in Bengal and other places during their period that saw the painful death of millions of impoverished Indians. In the early 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill wantonly diverted the ships carrying food grains to Calcutta when Bengal was in the grip of the worst famine and in the aftermath millions of Bengalies became emaciated and died of starvation. This disgusting act of Churchill, the famous India baiter was much worse than those murderous thugs of British India. Was it India's karma to get humiliated by people like Churchill, who had neither respect for the colonial people nor for Christ?