Is Veerappan playing his last ace? Or is he having the last laugh on the incompetence of the State machinery?
Trial by terror
when eight Karnataka forest department personnel held hostage by Veerappan were released in end-August after 45 days in captivity, the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu state governments -- besides the hostages and their families -- heaved a sigh of relief. Veerappan has an exceedingly bloody track record, but had only used them to send out a desperate signal that he is willing to surrender. The man charged with killing 119 people (see boxes: The making of a criminal and Trigger happy ), many of them police and forest department personnel, seems to be at the end of his tether.
The release of the hostages was accompanied by a list of fresh demands with a one-month deadline. Veerappan did not want to be tried under the law, wanted imprisonment not exceeding two years with special treatment, and Rs 50 lakh for rehabilitation. He also indicated that he might embark on a career in politics.
This is not the first time Veerappan has offered to surrender. "His earlier overtures were spurned by the Special Task Force ( stf )," says R Rajgopal, the government emissary in the recent hostage drama and Editor of the Chennai-based bi-weekly, Nakkheeran . Rajgopal is the only representative of the State - and of the Press - who has met Veerappan several times.
"It appears that Veerappan will surrender," says Karnataka home minister Roshan Baig. "Discussions with the Tamil Nadu government are on, and we hope to arrive at a con-clusive surrender package for the outlaws." According to Baig, earlier efforts to capture Veerappan or get him to surrender had been lethargic. Both state governments are now keen to end the story. "With continued ground efforts to nab him, and a certainly increasing intelligence in terms of knowing Veerappan's ways of operation, we feel that he is under increasing pressure," says A X Alexander, additional inspector-general of police, Tamil Nadu.
A chronology of major crimes commited by Veerappan
A chronology of major crimes committed by Veerappan
|Date/Year||Person(s) killed||Site of incident|
|1983||Puttu (forest watcher) Lambini Arjuna, Madachetti(gang members)||Forest area|
|May 1986||Koteyur Madiah & Thangavelu (rever ganga members)||M M Hills area|
|1987||Chidambarnath (Regional Forest Officer, Sathyamangala)||Near Gunderi Dam|
|January 1989||Ayyan and four others (rivals)||M M Hills area|
|August 4, 1989||Mohaniah (forest watcher)||palar Bridge|
|August 7, 1989||Two forest watcher and one member of the public||Forest area|
|April 9, 1990||Three Karnataka sub-inispectors||Gopinatham-Hogenakal Road|
|November 10, 1991||P Srinivas, Deputy Conservator of Forests||Yerakhella|
|May 19/20, 1992||Five police personel||Ramapura Police Station|
|August 14, 1992||T Harikrishna, Superintendent of Police, Mysore,and five police personel||Meenyam Road|
|April 9, 1993||22 Special Task Force(STF) persionel killed by landmine||Near Palar|
|May 24, 1993||Six policemen in the convey of Superintendent of police, STF||Rangaswamyvoddu|
|November 2 ,1993||Eight cowherds||Manjugumapatti|
|Janury 28, 1994||M K Ponnappa, police officer||Forests area|
|September 17, 1994||Three Border Security Force personel||Kailasapallam|
|October 8, 1994||Five villagers||Gaddesalu village|
|May 21, 1995||Two villagers||Nullur village|
|August 8,1995||Five Soliga tribals||Sapahalla forest|
|August 9, 1995||Five more Soligas||Punjanur village|
|February 1996||One STF jawan||Forest area|
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