By: Settu Shankar
Friday, March 23, 2007
Muthulakhsmi, wife of late sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, has spoken to the media several times in the press meets held after the killing of Veerappan by the STF. But according to her, this is the very first time she is giving an exclusive interview to the media. We got her acceptance for the same after a long wait of 15 days. Finally, yesterday, we met Muthulakshmi at her Mettur Residence. She lives in a very small house roofed with ordinary hand tiles. Murthulakhmi welcomed us into the front office of her house.
Muthulakshmi said that she had a complaint to the media regarding the interviews or press meets. According to her, many the facts told by her to the press have been hidden, and it writes only something of interest to the readers. This has hurt her severely. This was the only reason for her silence to the media. After our assurance about publishing her interview without any interpretation, she got ready for the same.
In the mean time, many poor people came to her residence and told her about their grievances. She consoled them with supportive words, sometimes with money as well.
Muthulakshmi, born in Neruppore near Dharmapuri, got married with Veerappan in 1990, when he was in his prime as a sandalwood smuggler. According to her it was an arranged marriage. She said that she was a little shy since her honeymoon was held in the dense forest only. She knew well about his 'profession' at the time of her engagement with him.
Here are the excerpts of Muthulakshmi's interview...
Do you still believe that Veerappan has not been killed by the STF?
Yes sir... I have no doubts on this issue. My husband Veerappan was a heroic person. He never bowed his head in front of anybody. Even the commando's too failed to find his hideout. But they didn't know that Veerappan had following them secretly in the Sathyamangalam Forest. In the Rajkumar issue, Veerappan did behave like a gentleman. He never breached the line of humanity. He treated the actor with utmost decency and kindness. But the STF deceived the people. There was a big conspiracy involved in this shameful murder. The police personnel behaved like cowards and used Veerapan's relatives to fulfill their purpose.
If the gunfight really happened during the nab of Veerappan and his gang, how come the policemen escaped without even minor injuries? People know how Veerappan could shoot his targets without a mistake. I personally know about his shooting skills. He never gave a chance to any thing once he fixed his target. I strongly suspect Subha Ilavarasan and a lady who was closely associated him are the two involved in the murder of Veerappan.
How do you feel after after the demise of Veerappan?
It has almost emptied my life. Veerappan was not just an individual. His aim was to bring a new light in the life of the tribals. For that purpose only he demanded money from the government. He never misused his 'earnings' through sandalwood smuggling. If you have visited the tribal villages once, you can realize this fact. The police shot my husband unnecessarily. Actually he had planned to surrender in public. But Jayalalitha was very strong against Veerappan's public grievance. She was afraid that Veearppan could spill the beans on many matters disliked by her.
Could you reveal the names of the powerful persons who were involved with Veerappan in his peak days?
I know all the facts. But I don't want to reveal those names. But don't think I fear for my life. I'm a bold lady like my husband. But at this juncture, I would like to lead a peaceful life. At present I'm very busy with writing the biography of Veerappan. I will reveal many facts and conspiracies involved in and around the life of Veerappan. 50 % of the work has been completed. The book will be released in May.
About your future plans?
So many bad things have happened in my life. But I don't want the same to return to my children's life in future. Due to this, I keep them far away from these surroundings. I wouldn't like to reveal the name of their school and other details also to the outside world. If I want to see them, I'm travel to their place and spend some time with them. Here in Mettur I'm living alone. But the people around me always protect me.
Last year I started a movement for the upliftment of the Tribals in the name of Tribal People Welfare Organization. The main aim of this organization is to protect the tribal people from the torture by police. They strive hard for their livelihood. But the police and forest officers exploit them and grab their properties illegally. I will continue to fight against such atrocities.