|HOME | NEWS | THE RAJAKUMAR ABDUCTION | REPORT|
August 13, 2000
Is Dharmapuri district turning into a trouble spot?
Our Correspondent in Salem
Is the arid terrain of Dharmapuri district adjoining the prosperous greens of the adjoining Bangalore district in Karnataka, becoming a hotbed of extremists of all kinds?
The land where sandalwood smuggler Veerappan had begun his brushes with the law over two decades ago and where the militant Naxalite movement has thrived despite repeated police clampdowns, seems to be becoming a safe haven for Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence-related activities as well, according to police sources.
"It's too early to say who else - the ISI, some international smuggler of the Dawood Ibrahim variety, or both - is involved in the kidnapping of Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajakumar by Veerappan in his new avtaar as a Tamil extremist.
The police are on the look out for a person who went by the name Pandian. He had, apparently, sent coded telephonic messages to destinations in Pakistan, which the telecom outpost in Bombay had intercepted. Pandian had rented a house in Hosur (in Dharmapuri district), the closest town in Tamil Nadu from Bangalore, on July 29, and went missing three days later.
The local police is keen to find out how Pandian managed to get a telephone connection to his rented house the very day he landed in Hosur. Secondly, whether Pandian his real name? and last, did suspicion about his telephone conversations being intercepted cause him to go into hiding.
Since his going underground coincides with the kidnapping of Dr Rajakumar, police officials do not rule out a link between the two. "We are investigating along these lines," says a police official.
The other possibility is that Pandian could have been a conduit for international smugglers operating through Pakistan, or even a link with fundamentalist or extremist organisations operating in the region, both in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
In this context, the police official refers to the bomb blasts in churches in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, which occurred in July.
Dharmapuri district, particularly its arid southern regions, has been a hotbed of the Naxalite movement for over three decades. The Tamil Nadu police came down heavily on Naxalites when the late M G Ramachandran was the chief minister. Lately, they have begun rearing their heads, a recent bus-burning incident being one in which their involvement is suspected.
The police is seeking to establish links, if any, between the Naxalites and pan-Tamil extremists who have since teamed up with Veerappan.
The brigand had started by working as a labourer for illegal quarry owners in the region. He then graduated to kidnapping quarry owners and members of their families for ransom. Time was when a message from anna, as he is referred to by some, was sufficient to ensure a ransom, even before a kidnapping occurred.
It was later that Veerappan shifted base to the forests in the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka and started making a living out of sandalwood-smuggling and elephant poaching.
"There is a need to find out whether there is any link among these groups and details of their relationship, if any," says the police official.
"The Naxalites' proclivity to use weapons of mass-destruction, their pan-Tamil ideology, their past links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the Padmanabha killing) means we cannot rule out anything. Instead, they only raise new doubts about new combinations," he added.
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK