January 29, 2020
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Bullet-Holes On The Sandalwood

Bullet-Holes On The Sandalwood
A couple of tell-tale signs that the abducted former minister H. Nagappa was actually killed in an encounter between Veerappan and the cops—which had also sparked vociferous demands for a CBI probe into the death—has prompted S.M. Krishna’s government to institute a one-man (a high court judge) inquiry commission to probe the episode. Though the Karnataka government had initially chosen to ignore Veerappan’s claim that Nagappa was shot by the Tamil Nadu STF, the recovery of 27 bullets fired from an AK-47 rifle at the site and bullet scars on trees in the vicinity, have cast doubt on the STF’s version: that Nagappa was killed by a single shot fired from point-blank range.

The former minister’s family as well as the Opposition parties have demanded a CBI inquiry. In fact, Nagappa’s kin intend to meet President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, when he visits Mysore on December 27, to push for the probe. Besides, a large number of seers from the Veerashaiva community, to which Nagappa belonged, are meeting on January 9 to make the same demand.

The state government has not made public the autopsy report and has also decided not to join issue with Tamil Nadu CM J. Jayalalitha on the controversial "encounter". On Monday, the state cabinet, after a debate, decided to institute a judicial probe. According to minister for law and parliamentary affairs D.B. Chandre Gowda, "the inquiry will be different from the one being undertaken by the police".

Whatever the truth, the decision to probe Nagappa’s death will further widen the divide between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

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