Veerappan: Beera of Ravan movie: robin hood for the poor


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Koose Muniswamy Veerappan

Veerappan leading his men around Namadalli forests
BornJanuary 18, 1952
DiedOctober 18, 2004
OccupationElephant poacher
Sandalwood smuggler
Koose Muniswamy Veerappan (Tamil: கூஸ் முனிசாமி வீரப்பன், Kannada: ಕೂಸ್ ಮುನಿಸ್ವಾಮೀ ವೀರಪ್ಪನ್ ಗೌಂದೆರ್, January 18, 1952 – October 18, 2004) commonly known as Veerappan, was a notorious dacoit, or robber bandit, of India. He was active for a period of years in a broad swath of land covering 6,000 km² in the states of KarnatakaKerala and Tamil Nadu. He long defied three state governments andIndian Border security paramilitary forces, maintaining at one point a small army numbering in the hundreds.
He was wanted for killing approximately 184 people,[1] including senior police and forest officials, poaching about 200 elephants, andsmuggling 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 million (Rs. 5crore or US$1.1 million) on his head, but evaded arrest for 20 years until he was killed by police in 2004.[2]



[edit]Early years

Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, alias Veerappan, was born at 08:17 hrs (IST) on January 18, 1952 in Gopinatham village in Karnatakato a family of cattle-grazers. He was commonly known as "Molakai" in his childhood days by the locals.
His gang of forty members indulged in killing and kidnapping, taking revenge[citation needed] for what government officials had done to the local people who lived near the forest. Most of his victims were police, forest officials, informers and movie stars. He felt the police were responsible for the suicides of his sister Mala and brother Arjunan. He was also known for his kidnapping of prominent people for ransoming, starting with a forest official in 1987. He trapped and brutally killed senior Indian Forest Service [IFS] officer Pandillapalli Srinivas on November 10, 1991 in the Namadalli forests of Kollegal taluk in Chamarajanagr district. He also killed Harikrishna IPS, senior police officer, Shakeel Ahmed, along with others on August 14, 1992 near Meenyam of Kollegal taluk by ambushing the police party in a raid.
He married Muthulakshmi, in 1991. He had three daughters Yuvarani,Prabha and another.

[edit]Robin Hood image

Veerappan had a Robin Hood-like image as a social bandit among some villagers adjoining his native village Gopinatham.[3] Sympathetic villagers are said to have covered for him and kept him informed of police activity. They also provided food and clothing to the gang. However, the villagers said they helped him out of fear of reprisal, and that Veerappan helped the villagers with money only to protect himself from being captured. Veerappan is known for being ruthless to villagers who provided the police with information.

[edit]Special task force

In 1990, the Karnataka government formed a Special Task Force to capture him and put an end to the menace. Soon after, the task force captured several of Veerappan's men. In February 1992, the special task force killed his lieutenant GurunathanSI Shakeel Ahmed was single-handedly responsible for Gurunathan's capture. Three months later, Veerappan attacked the Ramapura police station of Kollegal taluk in the Chamarajanagar district, killing several policemen and capturing arms and ammunition. In August 1992, Veerappan laid a trap for SP Harikrishna and SI Shakeel Ahmed and killed them along with four others. In 1993, the task force arrested his wife Muthulakshmi.
Indian actor Dr. Rajkumar was kidnapped by Veerappan in 2000. He was held for more than 100 days before his eventual release.
On February 17, 1996, he ambushed a team of Tamil Nadu STF personnel from a high ground while they were on their patrol vehicle. The police were able to counter attack and called for backup. The ambush which took place in the evening claimed the life of a Police Constable named Selvaraj from Madurai and seriously injured other police officers including Police officer Tamilselvan. By the time the Karnataka police arrived the bandit and his crew had fled.
A little over a year later, on July 12, 1997, he kidnapped nine forest officials at a place called Marapala in the Burude forests of Kollegala taluk,Chamarajanagara district. He made demands for releasing them, including amnesty, but none were met. The hostages were released without being harmed in the last week of August the same year.
On July 30, 2000, Veerappan kidnapped the famed southern Indian film star Rajkumar.[4] This placed the Karnataka government in a political dilemma of whether or not to call in the army. The decision was that to do so would set a poor precedent. Thus, Rajkumar was held for 109 days and was finally released without harm on November 15, 2000. There were allegations by several people that about 500,000,000 rupees were paid to Veerappan for the safe release.[5] A police official later suggested that 300,000,000 rupees ($6.5m) had been paid for his release.[4]
On August 25, 2002, Veerappan abducted H. Nagappa, a former state minister. Nagappa was found dead in the forest three months later. The reward offered by the Karnataka state government was increased to 50,000,000 rupees (US $1.25 million at that time.


Veerappan attended the Bannari Amman Kovil 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 Vanniar caste. Some people of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which is based on that Vanniar caste, hoisted a half-mast flag of their party on the death of Veerappan.


On October 18, 2004, following a tip-off, Veerappan and his two associates were allegedly killed after being arrested by the Tamil Nadu State Special Task Force, near the village ofPapparapatti in Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu.[6] Veerappan's wife claimed that he had been arrested a few days earlier, interrogated and killed by the police (Veerappan had repeatedly threatened, if ever brought to trial, to point a finger at every policeman and politician he had bribed to ensure his three-decade long run from justice).
According to media reports, postmortem photos of Veerappan with a bullet hole above his left eye seemed to contradict the official story that the STF, lying in ambush, stopped the ambulance Veerappan and his gang was traveling in, offered them surrender and gunned them down when someone from inside the van opened fire.
Veerappan was buried in the village of MoolakaduTamil Nadu. The police said they did not let the burial take place in his home village in Karnataka, fearing the large crowds that had gathered there. Although the police had planned for a cremation, this was objected to by the relatives of Veerappan suggesting that exhumation would be required if there was ever a subsequent investigation into his death. Thousands of people turned out for the funeral, while others were kept away from the burial ground by heavy security.[7]
Rumors persist that Veerappan may have stashed vast sums of money and treasure, in secret forest caves, which remain undiscovered.[8]


Timeline of Veerappan's activities:[9]
  • 1970
    • Joined a gang of poachers.
  • 1986
    • Arrested and lodged at Boodipada forest guest house but escaped under mysterious circumstances (reportedly bribed a police officer).
  • 1987
    • Kidnapped and hacked forest officer Chidambaram. Kidnapped and killed 5 members of a rival gang.
  • 1989
    • Killed 3 forest personnel of Begur forest range.
  • 1990
    • Killed 2 police personnel as revenge for killing of 2 members of his gang.
    • Killed another 13 police officials of Karnataka. The Karnataka government constitutes Special Task Force (STF) to catch Veerappan.
    • Shot and beheaded Karnataka deputy conservator of forests, Srinivas as revenge for Veerappan's sister Mala's suicide (the victim's head was traced 3 years later)
  • 1992
    • Attacked a police station in Ramapura, killing thirteen policemen and stealing arms and ammunition. STF killed 2 gang members in retaliation
    • Trapped STF police official Harikrishna, SI Shakeel Ahmed and 25 constables through a false informant. Killed 29 of the party using hand grenades and bombs.
  • 1993
    • Blew up a bus of 43 passengers including police and civilians, using a landmine.
    • Killed 17 policemen of Karnataka special SP Gopal Hosur's party.
    • Tamil Nadu government deploys Border Security Force (BSF)
    • Joint operations of BSF and STF arrested 9 gang members and killed 6. Three policemen were killed.
    • Veerappan requested amnesty. Victim's relatives opposed any government negotiations
  • 1996
    • Killed a police informer.
    • Killed another 19 police personnel.
    • Assassinated police official Tamilselvan and killed a constable as revenge for the suicide of Veerappan's brother Arjunan in police custody.
  • 1997
    • The gang kidnapped wildlife photographers Senani & Krupakar.
    • Apparently killed heir apparent 'Baby' Veerappan.
    • Kidnapped and released another photographer Krupakar.
    • Kidnapped and executed 9 Karnataka Forest officials from Burude forests.
  • 2000
  • 2002
    • Kidnapped and allegedly killed former Karnataka minister H. Nagappa. There are other sources, including police of Karnataka who claim that the bullet in the body of the former minister was from a rifle used by the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force (possibly the rifle used was stolen from Tamil Nadu task force).
  • 2004
    • Killed, presumably by Tamil Nadu State Special Task Force members

[edit]Cultural references

Veerappan was the inspiration behind some films and their characters.
  • The character of Veeran (played by Govind Namdeo) in the Hindi film Sarfarosh (1999). The character is of a terrorist who arms the forest-dwellers with rifles.
  • The character of Durga Narayan Chaudhary (played by Sushant Singh) in the Hindi film Jungle (2000). The character is of a forest gang leader who kidnaps a bus full of passengers, kills some of them and holds others to ransom.
  • Veerappan, the film directed by Prashant Pandey and produced by Ram Gopal Varma is under production currently. [10][11][12]
  • There were scores of regional films in Tamil and Kannada than had Veerappan as its antagonist like the Tamil movie Captain Prabhakaran and Kannada movie Veerappan, all of which were super hits.
  • Makkal TV had aired TV serial based on Veerappan's life called Santhanakaadu (means Sandal Wood forest in Tamil). Karate Raja played Veerappan and Goutham directed the serial. The serials sheds some light on the positive side of Veerapan as well as their own presumed version of how Veerapan was killed which is by poisoning.
  • The Malayalam Actor Mamukkoya did the title role in the comedy film Korappan, the great (2001) which depicted him as Veerappan.
  • The character of Veeraiya(played by Vikram) in the Tamil film Raavanan(2010) resembles strongly to the life of Veerappan.
Books on Veerappan
  • Veerappan: India's Most Wanted Man by Sunaad Raghuram. The film Let's Kill Veerappan is based on a chapter in this book.


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