Veerappan, was an Indian bandit, who was active for nearly 30 years of kidnapping, murdering and ivory and sandalwood smuggling in the forests of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.In all his 40 years of terror, he killed over 2000 elephants in exchange of over 88,000 pounds of ivory and 10,000 tonnes of sandalwood. His long career and ability to evade police led him to be one of the most feared and famous bandits in the history.
Childhood of Veerappan
Veerapan was exposed to crime at a very early age, his father was a known poacher and was closely related to criminal called SeviGounder. Veerapan started helping SeviGounder at an early age, he used to kill animals and smuggle valuables with him, Sevigounder was so impressed with Veerapan, that he gave his own gun to Veerapan who was just 10 at the time, Veerapan quickly acquired new skills of smuggling and rose through the ranks of the criminal world. It was at the age of just 17 that Veerapan would commit his first murder (a forest guard), he would later go on kill a total of 184 people in his life.
There are a bunch of incidents which made him the most feared bandit of india, lets take a look at few of them: –
The Palar Blast
In Govindapadi, Mettur, Veerappan killed a Bandari person in suspicion of him being a police informer. As a result, a 41-member team of police officers and forestry officials were dispatched to investigate the situation. On 9 April 1993, landmines were detonated underneath the two vehicles in which the team was traveling. The blast occurred at Palar, near MalaiMahadeswara, the blast killed 22 members of the team. Known as the Palar blast, this was Veerappan’s single largest mass killing.
The Special Task Force
In 1992, the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Government together formed a special task force in order to catch Veerappan, they managed to kill Veerappan’s lieutenant Gurunathan, SlShakkel Ahmed was responsible for the death. three months after the death oh his lieutenant, Veerappan attacked the Ramapura police station, killing several police officersa and capturing theirs guns and ammunition. looking to take revenge on shakeel, In August 1992, Veerappan layed a trap for him, in the process killing him and 5 others, this resulted in placing a bounty of 5 crores on the head of Veerappan by the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Government.
Kidnapping of the actor Rajkumar
On August 25th 2002, Veerappan kidnapped the famous Kannada actor Rajkumar, his son in law and two others from DoddaGajanur, where the actor was attending his housewarming ceremony, this left the city of Bangalore and the state of Karnataka in outrage and fear, bandhs and strikes were organized in Bangalore. Negotiations were conducted and R. Gopal, who was an editor of the Tamil magazine Nakkeeran, was involved in several rounds of talks with Veerappan. Gopal had earlier visited Veerappan for similar negotiations, and visited the forest several times for videotaped discussions. Veerappan demanded justice for Tamil Nadu in the Cauvery Water dispute, as well as making Tamil the second official language of Karnataka and the release of certain Tamil extremists jailed in Tamil Nadu. Rajkumar was held for 108 days and finally released without harm in November 2000. A police official later suggested that 20 crore rupees had been paid by Karnataka government for his release.
Kidnapping of Nagappa
Veerappan kidnapped the former minister of Karnataka on August 25th 2002 from his village house in Chamarajanagar district. The Joint Special task forces of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu worked with the Kerala police to help release Nagappa. An encounter to release him failed, and Nagappa was found dead three months later in a Karnataka forest. This resulted in increasing the bounty on Veerappan’s head to 50 crore rupees.
Operation Cocoon and the death of Veerappan
Operation Cocoon was the operation launched by the Special Task Force of Tamil Nadu Police in attempt to catch Veerappan and his associates. The operation was headed by K. Vijay Kumar, and N. K. Senthamarai Kannan. The operation involved infiltration by the police men into enemy camp with the help of tribal people. Since Veerappan was aware of the terrain of the forest, it was planned to bring him out of the forest. As per the report of police, the report was planned for ten months, the execution took 3 weeks and the final operation lasted only 45 minutes. STF personnel infiltrated as hawkers, masons and local service staff in the villages where Veerappan was supposedly roaming. Down the years, due to ageing and others getting killed, his troop was reduced to four men. Veerapan was planning to take a medical treatment for his eye in South Arcotand was planning to flee out of the forest. On the day of the operation, Veerapan was escorted out of the forest to the ambulance stationed at Papirappati village in Dharmapuri district, which was a police vehicle, by one of the police who earlier infiltrated his gang. A 35-member troop was stationed in the village, a few security men were hiding in security tankers in the road and others were hiding in the bushes. The driver of the ambulance, who was also a policeman, made an escape. As per police report, Veerappan and his gang were first warned and then asked to surrender, which was denied and the gang started firing at the STF personnel. The STF retaliated by firing grenades and gun fire. Veerappan was killed on the spot, while his gang men died on the ambulance taking them to the government hospital. After the operation, the STF recovered 12 bore Remington pump action gun, two AK-47, a self-loading rifle, two hand grenades and cash worth ₹3.5 lakhs. And that’s how the most terrifying criminal of India met his end.