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Home > News > PTI

End of three decades of Veerappan terror

October 19, 2004 10:33 IST

Nearly three decades of terror unleashed by dreaded sandalwood smuggler, Veerappan, in the sprawling 6,000 sq km forests of the Western Ghats came to an end on Monday night when the bandit was shot dead by a Special Task Force of Tamil Nadu police.

Also read: Sandalwood smuggler Veerappan shot dead| The Veerappan Saga

Veerappan carried a Rs 3 crore reward on his head, probably the highest in the country.

The brigand, who had killed more than 150 people, including senior police and forest officials, and over 2,000 elephants,virtually ruled the forest belt bordering Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

He defied for thirty years all efforts by the police, the army and several special task forces set up in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to arrest him.

Coming out successful in every operation and making the government bow to his demands, the dacoit's end must come as a great relief and victory to the two governments in Chennai and Bangalore.

Hailing from Gopinatham village in Kollegal taluk of Karnataka, Veerappan shot to fame at the age of 18 with his shooting abilities and joined a gang of poachers.

He made money killing tuskers for ivory and soon extended his activities to sandalwood smuggling.

The government came to know of his involvement in sandalwood smuggling only in the mid-eighties when his gang kidnapped a Tamil Nadu forest officer and axed him to death.

Six months after the incident, the gang kidnapped and butchered some members of a rival gang. Soon, Veerappan's 40-member gang was indulging in killings and kidnappings at will.

In August 1989, the gang kidnapped three forest personnel from the Begur forest range in Tamil Nadu. Their mutilated bodies were recovered from the forestsa fortnight later.

The following year, both the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu police launched their first offensive against Veerappan and were able to gun down two of his gang members.

Veerappan retaliated by killing a sub-inspector and a constable.

The Karnataka and Tamil Nadu police re-energised their hunt for the brigand. In a combing operation, the police recovered over 100 tonnes of food stock from a hideout of Veerappan in Siluyikal forest. But still there was no trace of the brigand.

Veerappan had a bit of a 'Robinhood-like' image among villagers in the area. He had an information network the police could not match.

The villagers acted as a cover to the brigand's actives. They also supplied his gang with necessary ration and clothes.

When the police allegedly set afire a few huts owned by villagers they suspected were helping Veerappan, the brigand looted a panchayat office and a cooperative society and also set ablaze two state transport buses.

In his first direct attack on the police, the poacher in April 1990 killed three sub-inspectors anda constable from Karnataka.

The then Karnataka Chief Minister Veerendra Patil, under tremendous pressure from the opposition, created a Special Task Force to nab Veerappan.

The STF, headed by Superintendent of Police Harikrishna, arrested many of Veerappan's supporters, forcing the brigand's sympathisers to flee the forest.

In May 1992, Veerappan attacked a police station in Ramapura, killing five policemen and fled with arms and ammunition.

A fortnight later, the STF shot dead four Veerappan gang members in Nellur village.

Perhaps his most brutal strike was when the bandit murdered Harikrishna, Shakil Ahmed and four constables in August 1992. They were enticed into entering the forest near Malai Madeshwara Hills through an informer.

The then chief minister Bangarappa announced the deployment of para-military forces to nab Veerappan.

At least 22 people in a bus from Tamil Nadu, including some police personnel, were killed in a landmine blast engineered by Veerappan in April 1993.

The Tamil Nadu government, which had resisted the deployment of Border Security Force to hunt for the brigand, finally requisitioned the force.

The BSF, with the assistance of STF, managed to arrest about 20 members of Veerappan's gang.

But the brigand himselfremained elusive.

With no concrete results emerging, the BSF was finally withdrawn and in a surprise move, Veerappan made known through a cassette his desire to stop his activities.

When the Karnataka government did not respond, Veerappan kidnapped the then deputy superintendent of police Chidambaranathanand his two relatives and demanded Rs 1000 crore in cash as ransom.

The brigand initiated talks with the then Tamil Nadu STF chief Sanjay Arora for his surrender. The hostage episode
ended when the DSP and his relatives escaped in the midst of a joint STF operation by Tamil Nadu and
Karnataka police.

But there was no stopping Veerappan. He took three forest department personnel hostage in Anthiyur. They were all released unconditionally after 20 days in captivity.

After a lull, Veerappanstruck againby killing a police informer in April 1996. Three months later, he butchered 10
tribals in the areato show his disapproval of the arrest of his sympathisers under TADA.

More reports from Tamil Nadu
Read about: Cases Against J Jayalalitha | Cauvery Water Dispute

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Number of User Comments: 3

Sub: Veerappan

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Posted by Roshni Krishna

Sub: end of veerappan

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Posted by Mukta Ajaykumar

Sub: Who will pubish politicians who were behind Veerappan?

Hi Friends, Now, most happiest people are those who were in-directly involved in Veerappans brutal activities. Who will punish these people? No, they cann't be ...

Posted by NBP



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