Veerappan issue: Slain STF personnel's father demands reward
Mysore, May 10 (UNI) The names of Special Task Force personnel, especially those who had laid down their lives during the 1990-1992 operations to nab the dreaded forest brigand Veerappan, should be included in the list of personnel eligible for rewards announced by the Karnataka Government for gunning down the outlaw in 2004.
Placing the demand before Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in a letter, a copy of which was released to the media here, former Deputy Superintendent of Police Abdul Karim, father of Sub Inspector of Police M Shakeel Ahmed, who was killed by Veerappan and his gang, said the state government's decision to disburse rewards to the STF personnel had confused in the minds of the families of personnel brutally killed by the bandit.
There were shocked to find that the names of those who had worked in the STF between 1990-92, especially those who had laid down their lives in the line of duty, did not figure in the list. It contained only the names of the personnel who had worked since 1993 under STF Chief Shankar Bidri and his successors Srivastava, Harsha Vardhana Raju and Kempaiah, he added.
Stating that it was not clear whether it was a slip or a communication error, Mr Karim sought a clarification from Mr Kumaraswamy on the matter.
He pointed out that his son had volunteered to be part of the STF when it was formed in April 1990 under IGP R C Shetty to capture the sandalwood smuggler, at a time when the morale of the state police was abysmally low following the Hogenakal falls killings in which four policemen of Mysore city had been killed by Veerappan.
He said Ahmed had been a key figure in the STF and was involved in many daredevil acts, along with another police officer Harikrishna, to nab Veerappan. However, Ahmed, Harikrishnan and three others were killed in an ambush by Veerappan and his men at Meenyam forest range on August 14, 1992.
Mr Karim said there was absolutely no justification whatsoever for the cut off date of 1993. It was highly arbitrary and discriminatory on the governments part to have omitted the names of these personnel who had sacrificed their lives in an encounter with the forest briband.
The elimination of Veerappan in October 2004 by the joint STF of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka was a culimination of a long drawn struggle, spanning over 15 years, he added.
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