Volume 5, No. 11-12, November-December 2004


[We are printing this press release given the significance of the Veerapan phenomena. Later we will produce a more detailed analysis of this. The media portray him only as a criminal, while there are far bigger criminals in the corridors of power, where Veerapan’s wealth would not even be a small fraction of what these establishment criminals (like CM Jayalalita) have amassed. Their main concern was that the government and forest officials could not corner the vast wealth in these forest. But, more on this later — Editor]

Press Statement

Veerappan’s Killing Appears Stage-Managed!

Veerappan’s Guerrilla Methods and Implications on Future Police and Maoist Tactics


The death of Veerappan on 18 October says many things.

The circumstances in which he died point to the fact that it was not a real but a stage-managed encounter. As the Jayalalitha and Dharam Singh governments answer and dodge probing questions, it will become increasingly clear that the encounter was a murky affair.

Ruling class sections and top police brass wanted him dead than alive. If Veerappan was alive and provided a fair trial he would have continued to threaten top politicians and senior bureaucrats of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. By killing him, these utterly corrupt and criminal elements, have saved their skin. The ruling classes of the two states have preferred a visibly fishy operation to eliminate him rather than face the embarrassment of a live Veerappan spilling the beans by addressing the people from a courtroom pulpit.

The suspicious encounter of Paparapatti in Dharmapuri, TN, tells that police are not bound by law. They are a law unto themselves. And, the more specialised a police force gets, the more it integrates with the top political leadership and the more brutal and murderous it can get in the elimination of its adversaries.

This is the most apparent and immediate fact that emerges from the so-called Veerappan encounter.

But that is not all.

The death of Veerappan and his leading associates has other serious implications too.

Veerappan operated in expansive jungle terrain. He compelled the Karnataka and TN state governments to allocate up to 4,000 police forces during peak periods and a regular combined force of about 2,000 during periods of "normality" in operations to eliminate him. The Karnataka Special Task Force (STF) of more than 1,000 personnel was trained and formed in the course of the state government’s armed operations against him. All police reports and the versions of those kidnapped and released by him establish that he adopted a guerrilla mode for his sustenance. Hence the most important instruction for the Karnataka government in the two decades of anti-Veerappan operations has been the experience it has provided the STF in specialising in counter-guerrilla operations in a vast jungle terrain.

A part of the new Rapid Action Force (RAF) to take on Maoist revolutionaries in the Malnad has been formed with handpicked personnel who have also had anti-Veerappan field experience. This is an advantage for the enemy.

In 2001 the CPI (Maoist) [formerly CPI (ML) (People’s War)] commenced its activity in the Perspective Area (PA) by organising the peasantry on their social, economic and political demands. The state government was pressed by the need to concentrate its forces in two different forest pockets separated mutually by a distance of about 300 kms. This was an additional strain on the police. The presence of Veerappan served the objective division of the state government’s specialised forces and was in this sense advantageous to revolutionaries. But with the elimination of Veerappan and the subsequent withdrawal of STF from south Malnad now, the state government has the advantage of concentrating its special forces in one pocket.

The inability of the state government to capture or kill Veerappan led it to making a deal with the murderous Israeli secret service agency Mossad in 2003. Like its counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, the Karnataka government will continue to develop closer counter-revolutionary links with the Israeli state in the days to come to deal with the revolutionary struggle and any popular democratic movement.

The death of Veerappan therefore broadens the smile of Chief Minister Dharam Singh. He and the police coterie at the top are doubly happy. With Veerappan gone, they presume they can eliminate the Maoist revolutionary movement much sooner than they envisaged.

Despite some apparent advantages for the government, a correct reading of the Veerappan experience will prove that the reality can continue to be disturbing for the enemy.

Veerappan relied on the support of a narrow section of people. But CPI (Maoist) revolutionaries rely on the broad masses of the people. Despite certain similarities in the mode of guerrilla operations with Veerappan, guerrilla units of the PLGA (People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army) differ widely from Veerappan since they rely entirely on the masses. They organise them in struggles against the landlords and the state on their social, economic and political demands. Maoists build mass organisations, party units and militia units among the people. We educate and train the people by continuously learning from their rich practice to undertake the New Democratic Revolution. While Veerappan had no social mission, Maoist guerrillas have lofty social objectives. We are guided by the revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and we imbue the people with revolutionary politics and activise them in order that they realize and play their role as the movers and makers of history. Revolutionaries grow from small to big and from weak to strong as they engage the masses in the social struggle against oppressors more and more. Advanced elements from the masses identify and join the ranks of revolutionaries. This is very much unlike Veerappan who by himself had no potential for growth.

Maoists imbed themselves deep in the hearts of the masses. In this sense they are like fish in water. Maoists mobilise the people to fight Hindu fascism, untouchability and the hated caste system, against patriarchal oppression of women and for the liberation of the oppressed nationalities. To undertake a counter-insurgency operation against a Veerappan and against Maoist guerrilla units which rely on the masses and mobilise them for the establishment of revolutionary political power and a liberating democratic alternative are two entirely different matters. This will be the first and foremost difference and the first and foremost challenge before the armed forces of Dharam Singh. This is something the Karnataka police will in future only hopelessly contend with.

Veerappan sustained himself for two decades without a revolutionary mass base. He did so by not only combating the 4,000 strong STF units of Karnataka and TN, he also overcame simultaneous operations of the central para-military forces such as the BSF and CRPF. In the course of his armed presence, he also effectively retaliated against the central and state forces, while neutralising informers intermittently. This is the biggest instruction to Maoist revolutionaries. If Veerappan with all his characteristics, could manage to sustain himself for two long decades, the armed forces of the CPI (Maoist) which has rich experience in organising the people in class struggle and conducting guerrilla warfare from the forests and plains of Dandakaranya, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkand or Bihar can confidently surpass and overcome the advantages that have resulted for the enemy from Veerappan’s death. Besides, Veerapan is just a local phenomena while the Maoist armed struggles are part of not only an all-India movement, but and international movement — getting all-India and international support.

The PA today covers territory which is as vast as the area in which Veerappan operated. While it took two state governments and a commitment of up to 4,000 forces to conduct anti-Veerappan operations, the Karnataka state government has to now manage comparable forces single handed to fight Maoist revolutionaries. This is an obvious disadvantage for DGP Borkar’s police.

Though Veerappan started off as a bandit, the fact that he fought and sustained himself against the state for two long decades is instructive for Naxalite revolutionaries. The brightest illustration of the Veerappan phenomenon, despite some immediate advantages it poses to the Karnataka police, is the fact that a guerrilla mode of existence can sustain a small and weak force against the might and the thousands of highly trained and well equipped forces of the centre and the states.

Veerappan was finally killed not as an armed guerrilla in the jungle, of which he was master. He died in terrain and conditions that were new and strange to him. In this sense though Veerappan is dead, the mode of guerrilla existence which he introduced into the annals of Karnataka’s current history is instructive and lives beyond him.



For Karnataka State Committee

Communist Party of India (Maoist)

20 October 2004





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