SALEM: Even as the police chose to keep a studied silence on Tuesday’s sensational recovery of explosives at Kumbarapatti forests near Kolathur, speculations are rife about their origin as the site was once a training camp for the LTTE during its infancy.
Various theories are doing the rounds as the place had remained a hotbed of political activities of many a shade and colour from pro-Tamil groups to Ultra Tamil outfits linked to brigand Veerapan and Periyarist Movements.
In July this year, police nipped the rise of Saravanan a dreaded poacher nicknamed as Junior Veerappan. Craddled on the TN - Karnataka border with the Cauvery flowing on the east and Western Ghats on the west, villages around Kolathur have been ideal hideouts for clandestine operations.
Giving credence to speculation that the police are giving a quiet burial for the explosive find, cops have not made any inquiry with anyone connected with the erstwhile pro-Tiger outfits.
On May 26, 2004, five months before the completion of ‘Operation Cocoon’ against Veerappan and his aides, the Special Task Force (STF) nabbed Suba Ilavarasan, leader of the banned Tamizhar Vidudhalai Iyakkam (TVI) near Adi Palar 2 km from Kumbarapati. The place is close to the STF’s erstwhile main base camp at Chinna Thanda. He was arrested while sneaking into the forests with four of his aides to mee the brigand. Two of them had managed to flee.
A 9-mm pistol with seven rounds of ammunition, two single-bore muzzle loader guns, seven plastic pipe bombs and ten 36’’ hand grenades, and a pair of binoculars, were recovered from them. While Ilavarasan had denied possessing arms, the police could not say where the seized weapons were shifted and when.
Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam founder Kolathur T.S Mani ruled out the possibility of Tuesday’s grenade find to be that of any Tamil extremist groups or that of Veerappan. According to him the brigand used low profile country weapons, mostly taken from police stations. “It was doubtful that Suba Ilavarasan would have brought weapons used in bigger conflicts to arm Veerapan’s gang,” he says.
The LTTE was forced to vacate the camp in November 1987, following the camps being raided on a Central directive. Prabhakaran too decided to pack up and headed to Jaffna. According to Mani only weapon modules and outer covers of grenades and rocket launchers, pipes for pipe bombs etc without exploding capacity could have been buried at the camp site. “They all bear the LTTE insignia” he says. Another former pro-Tiger activist, A.Durai of Kolathur, too echoes it.