The Hindu Lit for Life 2018

When a brigand and terrorist were killed

Team player Sanjay Pinto (Left) and K. Vijay Kumar. R. Ragu   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

Is there any similarity between the ways the operations to kill sandalwood smuggler Veerappan and the terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden were conducted? Did these two dreaded lawbreakers have something in common? There were some of the questions that came up at the session titled ‘In Pursuit Of Evil: The Inside Story’ of how Veerappan and Osama Bin Laden were killed on the second day of The Hindu Lit for Life 2018. K.Vijay Kumar, former Chief of Special task Force which led Operation Cocoon that killed Veerappan in 2004, was in conversation with journalist and author Adrian Levy in this session moderated by columnist and author Sanjay Pinto.

Kumar, a former IPS officer who has recently penned down his account of nabbing Veerappan in his book Veerappan: Chasing The Brigand, said about the action-packed days of Operation Cocoon, “Without Senthamarai Kannan [the head of the intelligence wing of Operation Cocoon] the operation wouldn’t have been possible. I may seem like a one-man army, but I am basically a team man.”

Comparing Veerappan to bin Laden, Kumar said that Veerappan was “interesting in his own way.” “He came at a time when the Chambal dacoits had faded away in the 60s and 70s. He filled up the space left there,” said Kumar.

Levy’s research on the manhunt for bin Laden has given him a wealth of information on the subject. His collaborative works with Cathy Scott-Clark, The Exile: Flight of Osama Bin Laden and The Siege: The Attack on the Taj are informative accounts of the respective episodes.

Criticising Kathryn Bigelow’s film Zero Dark Thirty, which has often been portrayed as an authentic version of the events that led up to the killing of bin Laden, Levy said, “America is, as you know, brilliant in unashamedly expressing its national interests through Hollywood. In the case of the operation in Abbottabad, they [the American authorities] gave them [filmmakers] privileged access and cherrypicked intelligence and came up with a film that is materially wrong… The film pretty much giving a clean chit to bankrupt practices. It fitted into the electoral campaign for President Obama. Zero Dark Thirty is not history.”


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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 5:34:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/when-a-brigand-and-terrorist-were-killed/article22471868.ece

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