Category: Veerapan

Bandit Veerapan – The Sandalwood smuggler

Veerapan, commonly known as Veerappan or Sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, was an Indian bandit who was active for years in scrub and forest lands covering about 6,000 km² in the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan (c. January 18, 1952–October 18, 2004) was a notorious bandit of India. He resided and carried out his activities in the Biligirirangana Betta and Male Mahadeshwara Betta (Hills) and Sathyamangalam and Gundiyal forests, covering 6,000 km² in the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. He challenged three state governments and the paramilitary force of Indian Border security. He once had a mini army with hundreds of armed members in his gang.

He was wanted for killing about 184 people, including senior police and forest officials, poaching about 200 elephants, and smuggling ivory worth US$2,600,000 and sandalwood of about 10,000 tonnes worth US$22,000,000. He had a price of Rs. 50 on his head, but evaded arrest for 20 years until he was killed by police in 2004. Veerappan attended the  temple regularly and was known to be a strong devotee to Kali a Goddess in Hinduism. It is also said that he built a [Kali] temple. Veerappan belonged to the Vanniarcaste. Some people of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), or Working People’s Party, which is based on that Vanniar caste, hoisted half-mast flag of their party on the death of Veerappan. A special task force dedicated to Veerappan’s capture was convened by the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments in 1990. Veerappan evaded being caught partly thanks to a vast information network that he had established, bolstered by his financial contributions to impoverished locals. In the following years his spate of violence continued. In 2000 he kidnapped the Kannada film star Rajkumar, whom he held for 108 days and freed only after having reportedly received the payment of a large ransom. Veerappan was killed by the Tamil Nadu State Special Task Force in 2004.


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