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DECCAN HERALD Monday, August 7, 2000

WANTED: TRAINED AND FULLY EQUIPPED TASK FORCES

Sir,
Even as Dr Rajkumar and three others have been kidnapped by Veerappan, the Karnataka Government and its Special Task Force (STF) are helpless. Consequently, the Government has ordered cessation of all operations against Veerappan and trying to examine his demands. This kind of meek surrender to a brigand has no parallel anywhere else. But the tragedy is that the Government has invited all this trouble by its various acts of omission and commission. It has no other option now but to save Dr Rajkumars life.

While nothing should be done to endanger the life of Dr Rajkumar, the Government should remember that protracted negotiations with Veerappan making exorbitant demands, will further endanger the life of Dr Rajkamar due to hard living conditions and lack of constant medical attention. One suggestion is to prepare two or three small expert guerrilla forces quietly to infiltrate into Veerappans hide-out and make a final multi-pronged assault to rescue Dr Rajkumar. This will have to be preceded by sealing off the hide-out from Veerappans gang reinforcing his present strength. No doubt, this would be a dangerous operation, but is unlikely to force Veerappan to physically harm the hostages. This would be better than keeping quiet and reacting or not reacting to Veerappans demands. Perhaps, the STF may come out with a better plan but act we must to save Dr Rajkumar and others.

While the short-term plan is delineated above, the long-term plan should be implemented with a sense of urgency. Divided command between the two task forces of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka affect control of the forces to achieve the common aim of capturing or killing Veerappan. The first priority is therefore to appoint a single commander of the joint task forces who can operate freely in both territories including the local police who should obey the orders of the Task Force Commander (TFC).

A Joint Operations Room must be established, where planning at Government level is carried out and suitable orders/instructions can be sent out without interfering with the command and control of the TFC. Simultaneously, the training of the task force should be started vigorously. Junior commanders, NCOs particularly platoon and company commanders, should be sent to the Jungle Warfare School in Belgaum for training as commanders and instructors. All the platoons should be trained in similar terrain as close as possible to the jungle terrain of Veerappan.

This training is very vital as the NCOs and men at platoon and section commanders of the task force initially did not even know the elementary drill of breaking an ambush. They were sitting ducks sitting in jeeps/trucks whenever Veera-ppan set an ambush on them.

The intelligence set-up of the task force must be reorganised by taking into confidence the local villagers and offering them suitable rewards. Whatever the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, hopefully successful, it is imperative that the Governments have in readiness suitable task forces well trained and well equipped with weapons, ready to take on brigands and smugglers, who have time, money and weaponry to carry out their nefarious activities with murder and mayhem.
Brig V P NAIB (Retd)
Bangalore

FOR SAFE RELEASE

Sir,
On behalf of my family and friends here, I condemn the kidnapping of Dr Rajkumar who is the jewel of Karnataka and India. We were shocked to here his abduction and pray to God for his release. Dr Rajkumar is a national asset and both the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Governments should do their best to secure the safe and early release of Dr Rajkumar and the three other hostages.

Kannadigas are known for their non-voilent nature and hope they remain the same during this unpleasantful event. Anticipating the safe release of Dr Rajkumar.
KAVITHA GOPAL
New Jersey (On E-Mail)

SEEK GILL'S HELP

Sir,
I would appeal to Chief Minister S M Krishna to seek the services of Mr K P S Gill, IPS (Retd), to secure the release of Dr Rajkumar from Veerappans hands. In fact, had Mr Gills services been sought long back, the Veerappan menace would not have been there.
S MANJUNATH
Bangalore

TESTING TIME

Sir,
Dr Rajkumar is a great believer in God. So, let the people of Karnataka be rest assured that he will come out unscathed within a week. God will never let down his disciples. It is a testing time for all of us and Dr Rajkumar must be offering prayers in the dense jungle for the safety of all.
T G SATHYANARAYANA
Bangalore

LONG-TERM SOLUTION

Sir,
It is a paradox that Veerappan`s catch is our beloved Rajkumar now. But he cannot keep Dr Rajkumar with him for long. The more time he takes to keep Dr Rajkumar and three others in his custody, the more dangerous it would be for him and his gang.

Even though Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Governments are trying their best to secure the safe release of Dr Rajkumar and three others, both should try for a long-term solution to the Veerappan menace.
M RAJU
Shimoga

METICULOUS EXECUTION

Sir,
The kidnapping of the popular actor Dr Rajkumar has once again brought to the fore the effectiveness of the so-called special task forces. The flawless and meticulously executed kidnapping reflects the failure of the intelligence network of the State. Clearly, Veerappan has outsmarted the official machinery. The outlaw has been thumbing his nose at the law enforcing agencies for the past 20 years. The last six years have seen five dramas of the kind being staged with curtains never coming down on Veerappan and the game he loves to play.

The Government is guilty of empty bravado in claiming that the poacher and smuggler would be apprehended soon. Veerappan and his gang have been ruling the roost from their forest hide-out by openly defying the Special Task Force.

Public opinion, especially the English-medium, has been pulverising the S M Krishna Government on the issue. In no time has the whole State Government and its law enforcement agencies been projected as a pack of nervous and frightened lot which the brain, nor the muscle nor the will, to act.

For very sound reasons only, an authority on modern terrorism described sometime ago the media as the terrorist`s best friend. And where the media, as in our country, is habituated to fault the Government even in such sensitive areas as terrorism, has no authentic information it is more than a friend of Veerappan. It creates more friends for the outlaw and erodes the confidence and the capacity of the Government which alone has to bear the responsibility.
P N BENJAMIN
Bangalore

WAITING FOR THE TRAIN

Sir,
This year too, the railways have shown the timings for 1097/1098 Pune-Ernakulam train via Hubli (announced two years back) in the latest time table, but the train is yet to be started. The trains announced in the current budget have started running and even after Railways Minister Mamata Banerjees recent assurance to local MP that the train would run via Hubli with immediate effect, little has been done. Will the authorities please clarify?

UTTAM SATIYA
Hubli


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