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Home > News > Report

The man who caught Veerappan alive

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | October 20, 2004 14:39 IST
Last Updated: October 20, 2004 17:02 IST


"He conned my son into entering a death trap. Now that the bandit is dead, my son's soul will rest in peace," was the reaction of P Anantha Rao, father of Indian Forest Service officer Pandillappalli Srinivas, who was beheaded by Veerappan in 1991.

Also see: 'How did Veerappan survive so long?'| The Veerappan Saga

"The Nakasura would have been dead long ago if my son had not believed in the principles of ahimsa [non-violence]," Rao said.

"This [the news of Veerappan's death] is the right thing to hear during Dussehera, which celebrates the victory of good over evil," P Jayalakshmi, Srinivas' mother said.

Srinivas' parents live in the coastal town of Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh. Srinivas joined the Indian Forest Service in 1979. He started his career as assistant conservator of forests at Chamarajnagar in Kollegal taluk. Gopinatham, the native village of Veerappan, was in his jurisdiction.

Srinivas made efforts to curb illegal activities such as the killing of elephants and smuggling of tusks and sandalwood. This brought him into direct conflict with Veerappan.

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Srinivas managed to catch Veerappan alive in 1986, but the brigand escaped from police custody at Boodipada forest guest house where he was held.

After his promotion as deputy conservator of forests in 1987, Srinivas built a wireless network in the forests, stepped up vigilance.

In April 1990, the brigand ambushed and mowed down three sub-inspectors and a constable who were hot on his trail. Jolted by the incident, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments formed a joint Special Task Force to hunt for the brigand.

Srinivas, who was undergoing training in the United States, was recalled and asked to head the STF in May 1990. The forest officer soon initiated several measures to isolate and make life difficult for the bandit.

Srinivas believed in non-violence and wanted Veerappan to shun criminal activity and join the mainstream. He hoped to reform the banditby influencing local villagers to not cooperate with him. He became friendly with the tribals and won their confidence through his amiable ways.

Veerappan decided to kill Srinivas, who was becoming increasingly popular in the villages.

On the evening of November 9, 1991, Veerappan sent word through his brother Arjun that he would surrender at a farmhouse. When Srinivas arrived there, the brigand caught and beheaded him at Eric John Valley, a short distance away from Gopinatham village.

Srinivas'headless torso was found on November 10.

The government posthumously awarded Kirti Chakra, the highest civilian award for gallantry, to Srinivas. The Forest Department observes November 10 as Forest Martyrs Day.

His mother Jayalakshmi was declared a Veeramatha and was honoured by the then president R Venkatraman at a defence investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1992.

"My son was a karmayogi. He had faith in the goodness of human beings. His sacrifice will not go in vain. Good will ultimately prevail over evil," Anantha Rao told the local media as news of Veerappan's killing came on Tuesday.



More reports from Andhra Pradesh
Read about: The Naxalite Threat | The Speaker Falls Silent


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Number of User Comments: 9




Sub: veerapan's long innings

nowhere in the world has any dacoit survived for so many decades.apparently he was the golden goose for many sources. Why did the Govt. not ...


Posted by denis





Sub: Human rights activists and Veerappan

Will Human rights activists, who are crying foul over Veerappan's killing, take note of this cold blooded murder? In last two decades Veerappan continually violated ...


Posted by Lucky





Sub: Ahmisa---Veerappan

Ahmisa is a nice philosophy in some situations but totally inappropriate in many other situations as history has shown in India and elsewhere.Ahmisa requires more ...


Posted by Satinder Mullick





Sub: veerappan the robinhood

I wish to appreciate the killing of this brutal animal at the hands of young boys from sTF. well for a moment i thought of ...


Posted by Yashpal shetty





Sub: School to throw Veerappan's daughter out

Why this 12-year girl should face such a wrath for no mistake of hers? She can be thrown out of school for the reasons like ...


Posted by Vinay S Agraharkar




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