OPERATION PUTTUR10 mins 109 10 mins 109
Note: This story is based on Operation Puttur and 1992 Coimbatore Bomb blasts. Since, the story really fascinated me, I co-wrote this story along with Shruthi Gowda. Both of us wrote and prepared the idea for this story, despite my reluctance to work for this story. She is having due credits for this story.
GANAPATHY POLICE STATION, COIMBATORE:
26 NOVEMBER 2018:
In Ganapathy Police Station, police officer Dinesh asked his officers, "Sir. DGP Kishore sir have asked to change everything as digital. Make everything digital, except some scrap files sir."
All agrees. When Dinesh have been making a file into digital, he comes across a spine-chilling case Operation Puttur, reminscaning the brutal bomb blasts, terrorists attacks.
"Sir. Who have the phone number of DSP Arjun sir?" asked Dinesh.
After getting the phone number, Dinesh calls him and tells, "Sir. I am calling from Ganapathy Police headquarters. I came across your case, when making everything digital."
"The case that have shattered my whole life, the case that have turned my entire life down, that's this phone call. My whole life comes into my eyes." Arjun said and he recalls about his life as a police officer few years back.
FEW YEARS BACK:
Al Ummah is a terrorist group involved in many terrorist attacks in Tamil Nadu. Started in 1993 after the Babri Masjid demolition, the organization was noticed for the 1993 bombing of RSS office in Chennai, which killed eleven people. The organization is tied to other attacks like the Coimbatore serial bomb blasts which killed 58 persons, while targeting Bharatiya Janata Party leader L. K. Advani during the city's election campaign. It was tied to the bomb blast in Bangalore, the state capital of Karnataka.
TWO YEARS LATER, 1992:
Arjun was living with his mother Urmila, younger sister Anitha and his father Inspector Veluchamy in Gandhipuram of Coimbatore district. During this time, terrorists attacks came through riots and bomb blasts by terrorists groups of Al Ummah and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The bomb blasts killed Arjun's father, who was on-duty that time, shattering the family totally. Arjun developed his interest to join the police force and started to train up for joining IPS. He was just 8 years that time.
FEW YEARS LATER, 2008:
CHENNAI NATIONAL POLICE ACADEMY:
In 2008, Arjun have been getting his training for IPS under Anti-terrorism squad. He tops the IPS training period. The same time, severe bomb blasts happen in Mumbai and Bangalore during the 2008, held by terrorists residing in Pakistan.
Several changes leads following the serial blasts, that damaged the house property, people's life and the government to take drastic steps.
Three days after, Arjun returns back to his hometown Coimbatore in order to meet his mother and younger sister. That time, he meets his school teacher Raghavan's daughter Yazhini, who is now working as a news editor in a newspaper company.
Both have some good qualitative time and eventually falls in love with each other. With the consent of their respective parents, the duo gets married and becomes ACP of Chennai.
His honesty and sincerity in his duty, irks the police officers and he gets transferred multiples of times. After getting transferred to Bangalore as a time-being, he gets posted in Coimbatore.
"You can get bribes and remain in same place right? Why are you rushing like this, brother-in-law?" asked a furious Yazhini. However, he consoles her. Arjun is now promoted as DCP.
OCTOBER 23, 2012:
On October 23, 2012, Doctor Arvinth Reddy, the then state medical wing secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party was killed in front of his clinic in Kosapet area of Vellore, Tamil Nadu. According to the police, then 38-year old Arvinth Reddy was stabbed at the back of his neck using knife by a three-member gang and he died on the spot. Six accused were nabbed on November 21 and 22, 2013 and one of them, Vasur Raja, accepted their role in the murder of doctor.
MARCH 19, 2013:
On March 19, 2013, Murugan.K aged 45, former BJP municipal councillor, was hacked to death by a three-member gang in Paramakudi main bazaar while he was returning home for lunch. The gang also hurled pipe bombs at the murdered person and two live pipe bombs were recovered from the scene and defused. This murder happened in front of shopkeepers and public, who fled the spot in panic.
JULY 1, 2013:
On July 1, 2013, Vellaiyappan, aged 45, Tamil Nadu state secretary of Hindu Munnani was in his two-wheeler in Vellore going to Ramakrishna Mutt when he was attacked on his head from behind. He was then hacked in his neck and the assailants escaped. Volunteers belonging to Hindu Munnani then agitated demanding action against assailants.
JULY 19, 2013:
On July 19, 2013, "Auditor" V. Ramesh aged 54, was hacked to death inside the compound of his house by an unknown gang in Salem. Jayalalitha, then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu constituted a Special Investigation Division to probe the murder of "Auditor" Ramesh.
CHENNAI POLICE HEADQUARTERS:
Following these continuous deaths, a meeting was held with the Home Minister, with all district Police officers. The Home Minister looks at the police officers for a while and starts to speak.
"What is this man? Three to four people are killed continuously. First 1992 Coimbatore Blasts. Then, these four murders. You know. They all are bigwigs in the society. CM is asking so many questions. What to say? Ah?"
"All are there in the files sir. Read and see" said the DGP.
"If I know to read these, why should I come for politics. I too would be here right" said the Home Minister.
After drinking little amount of water, the Home Minister tells, "One of the victims is Telugu. Henceforth, we are ordered to join with Andhra Police force to nab the planned attacks of the terrorists as well as to arrest the people, behind the attacks."
4 OCTOBER 2013, PUTTUR:
As planned, Arjun have been asked to join with Andhra Police force naming this as, "Operation Puttur." With a few experienced police officers and some other officers accompanying, Arjun and his team lands in Puttur, located 30 km (19 mi) from Tirupathi and 115 km (71 mi) from Chennai on the evening of 4 October 2013.
A meeting is held with the Puttur ASP Harikrishna Reddy. He tells to Arjun, "Sir. The four people's murderers were told to be residing somewhere here in Puttur as per the intelligence reports. Additionally, they suspect some dangerous attacks to happen here."
Arjun along with Harikrishna, searches for the suspects all around Puttur for one and a half days starting on 4:00 AM.
In the amidst of the severe rains and fogs, they starts to conduct search for the criminals, all over. During the mission, one of the police constables sustained injuries and eventually died in hospital.
Finding the house of Fakruddin, Malik and Ismail, Arjun and his team with Harikrishnan goes to the house, where the two have become alert. From the top of the house, Fakruddin fired against the police officers. During the attacks, Inspector Krishnan, who went incognito as a commander was attacked by the militants. He sustained the injuries however. Mutual fire was exchanged for a while.
One of the police officers named Srinivas climbed up the roof of the house and issued warnings and persuasive statements telling: "Malik, Ismail. Don't try to escape. You are now completely surrounded. Malik. Come out. It's the last warning." He dropped stun grenades and tear gas from the roof into the houses.
The same time, a pregnant Yazhini feels lonely as she have been left with a police to protect her. While, Arjun became busy with his investigations. She is not allowed to contact him, as he is busy. She reminscances the memorable moments, spent with Arjun in that time as a six-months pregnant lady.
THREE HOURS LATER:
Three hours later, during the mission, the Octopus team members joined the operation. They cordoned off the area from common people and fired tear gas into the house. The two militants who rushed out were nabbed by the team. Panna Ismail sustained bullet injuries in the arrest. Two other suspects who were holed up escaped.
They were coaxed and finally overcome by the dropping of percussion shells and tear gas from the top of the house. Panna Ismail sustained bullet injuries in the arrests.
Tamilnadu Police team captured the suspect Fakruddin in Chennai Central, the same time. They wore plain clothes, chasing him for a while, after following him and capturing.
In the police custody, Fakruddin states: "Even if you arrest us, we would execute the planned destructive attacks sir. Don't judge us wrong."
To know their plans, Harikrishna Reddy asked his constables to give severe third degree beatings, to which Fakruddin and the other two laughed and tells, "We are well trained. We would sustain these attacks, sir."
Arjun comes with an idea then and ties up the three in a chair, with a few drops of water, being opened towards them. Then, Harikrishna asked him: "What are you doing sir? What's this?"
"Chinese Torture technique sir. This would be infused to the soldiers, who are caught during the war times. Even if he is adamant, he can't bear it after three hours."
Unable to bear the torture, Fakruddin obeys and tells, "I will do what you say sir." The three are asked: "What's your next plan? Who's your next target da?"
"Sir. We were part of the banned Al Ummah outfit. We were planning to plant bombs in the famed Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, the most visited temple in India and also had a plan to murder a famous person in Chennai in the name of Muslim Defence Force." Ismail said.
While Fakruddin explains, "Sir. I plotted the murder of L.K.Advani and killed him. We were the cause for the bombing in Malleswaram of Bangalore, that injured 16 people."
"Who killed Aravinth Reddy, Murugan, Vellaiyappan and Murugan da?" asked Reddy.
While Ismail and Malik looked blinking, Fakruddin tells: "I plotted the attacks sir. Posing as a Hindu, I met Vellaiyappan, the day before the murder and had a conversation. My attackers then killed him, standing behind him. With my two associates, I was the one behind Arvinth's death."
"Then, Auditor Ramesh?" asked Arjun.
"We hired a local Salem gang to kill him sir. I evaded arrests for eight years along with Malik and Ismail in a group called "Muslim Defence Force" to kill a public figure in Tamilnadu in 2013. That time only, your police officers in plain clothes followed, chased and arrested us in Chennai Central station on 4 October 2013."
The three are arrested and were produced in the court.
FEW WEEKS LATER:
Few weeks later, Arjun sends twelve-member police team from Tamilnadu to Puttur to hold enquiries about the guys.
Showing the photos of Malik, Farook and Ismail, one of the officers interrogated to a vegetable seller, "You know who he is?"
With fears surrounding the seller's face, he turned to his assistant and said, "Hey. Have vegetables been sent ah?"
"Yes bro." The assistant replied. Knowing his reluctance to say, the officers asked the same questions. Most of them felt reluctant to give an answer. Due to the repeated queries, one of the sellers told: "Sir. They were selling vegetables less than the market price and were popular in the area henceforth."
Getting the useful information, the officers informs to Arjun, who then hangs up the call and proceeds to meet his pregnant wife Yazhini, who have given birth to a baby girl in hospitals.
"Today, the technology have grown. Crimes and method of doing terrorism have changed. But, now people are aware of everything due to the present technology. Still, some deaths continued to happen. The innocent people continues to die." Arjun writes in his diary and he proceeds to go for his duty. While, his wife is taking care of the baby and she smiles at Arjun, who goes to solve the next pending case, that's left...
Operation Puttur was a joint operation of the Tamil Nadu state police and the Andhra Pradesh State police. The operation was the first of its kind for OCTOPUS (Organisation for Counter Terrorist Operations), a newly formed anti-terror unit of the Andhra Police constituted specifically for handling terrorism related issues. K. Srinivas, one of the civilians aged 25, was also in the team aiding the police.
Two other suspects who were holed up escaped. It was later found out that the lady was the wife of Malik who preferred to stay with her and his children. The lady and the children were detained by Tamil Nadu police, which briefly created a furor.
Story by: Me and Sruti Gowda.
Written and partially narrated by: Me and Sruti Gowda.