[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Legendary bandit buried in India
Veerappan's widow, Muttulakshmi (centre), and daughters Nidhi (left) and Prabha (right)
Veerappan's widow and daughters at the burial
The funeral of India's most notorious bandit, shot dead on Monday, has taken place at a village in southern Tamil Nadu state.

Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, one of India's most wanted men, was killed along with three associates in a forest by a special police task force.

Veerappan had been on the run for some 20 years.

He was accused of a range of crimes, including more than 100 murders, kidnapping and smuggling.

God will punish those policemen. Veerappan was a good man and he helped the poor
Ravi, mourner

Large crowds attended the funeral at a family burial ground at Moolakadu in Tamil Nadu. Many were overcome with emotion.

The BBC's Sunil Raman says the police decided not to bury Veerappan in his native village in neighbouring Karnataka state fearing trouble from the large crowds that had gathered there.

"We have been orphaned," cried the bandit's wife, Muthulakshmi, as she clung to her teenage daughters Prabha and Vidya Rani at the funeral.

LIFE OF CRIME
Veerappan
Killed first elephant aged 14
Accused of smuggling ivory worth $2.6m and sandalwood worth $22m
Escaped from behind the bars in 1986 by killing four policemen and an unarmed forest official in their sleep
Operated mainly in the forests bordering states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

The bandit's elder brother was allowed out from a life term in jail for aiding Veerappan to attend the rites. He laid a garland as he was closely guarded by police.

The BBC's Sampath Kumar, who is in Moolakadu, says a heavy security presence kept many others away.

On Tuesday, thousands of people had queued up outside a hospital in Tamil Nadu's Dharmapuri district to view his body before it was taken away for the funeral.

One of them, Ravi, said Veerappan helped the poor.

"God will punish those policemen. Veerappan was a good man and he helped the poor," he told the BBC.

Others waiting to see the bandit's body said the police should have arrested Veerappan and brought him to justice.

Trap

The chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have congratulated the police for their action and announced large rewards for them.

Four undercover policemen were sent to infiltrate Veerappan's gang setting into motion a chain of events that led to his killing, police have said.

Veerappan funeral
Police control the large crowds who attended the funeral
A trap was laid for him when he was being driven to seek medical attention.

Police say they surrounded the ambulance carrying him and then opened fire when he refused to surrender.

A leading human rights group has called for an inquiry into Veerappan's killing.

The group, People's Watch, say the killing could have been avoided.

Its head, Henry Tiphagne, asked in an interview with the BBC Tamil Service: "Why could the 100 armed police officers who surrounded Veerappan not have forced him to surrender or simply wounded him?"

Tamil Nadu police say the killing of Veerappan and three associates was the result of months of planning.

Veerappan had many times told journalists how he had bribed police and politicians, and had made clear he would give details if he was ever tried.

Mr Tiphagne said, with Veerappan's death, the allegations of his links to leading figures in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka could not be examined.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
How Veerappan became India's most notorious bandit



SEE ALSO:
Death of a legendary bandit
18 Oct 04  |  South Asia
Controversy haunts bandit search
19 Oct 04  |  South Asia
Veerappan hunt a 'waste of time'
01 Jul 03  |  South Asia
Indian police hunt bandit online
18 Feb 03  |  South Asia
India ups bandit reward
31 Dec 02  |  South Asia
The hunt for India's elusive bandit
09 Dec 02  |  South Asia


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific