14 May, 2021

The Shimmering Mirage

It's been a seesaw. But the arrest of a close Veerappan associate brings some firm hope.

The Shimmering Mirage
On February 10, the Tamil Nadu police organised a meeting at Coimbatore with tribals who inhabit Veerappan territory. Additional director general of police (operations) A.X. Alexander broke down while exhorting them to cooperate with the stf. Immediately, the crowd's mood changed with the tribals coming forward to promise their assistance in bringing the elusive brigand to book. Alexander's public weeping is a metaphor of the stf's current disposition. In Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, confidence and despair are two opposite ends between which the administration and the police oscillate when it comes to the vexatious issue of tracking down Veerappan and his gang.

The near miss in the jungles of Walayar-Coimbatore range on February 1, for instance, had plunged the stf into the pits of depression. However, the seesaw of spirits has soared once again with the stf apprehending Tamil National Liberation Army (tnla) leader Maran—a Veerappan associate responsible for Rajkumar's abduction—on February 15. Tamil Nadu dgp R. Rajagopalan is ecstatic: "The arrest of Maran was the luck we...

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