Monday, August 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

CMs respond to demands
Hopeful of Rajkumar’s release

CHENNAI, Aug 6 (PTI) — The Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments today responded to all 10 demands made by forest brigand Veerappan for the release of Kannada thespian Rajkumar and three others.

“We have substantially redeemed all demands and hope Veerappan will release the hostages”, Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters after lengthy discussions with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi at the secretariat here.

General amnesty was one of the demands and most pertained to Tamil aspirations, he said.

The responses were being conveyed to Veerappan and “good news” was expected “very soon”, both Chief Ministers said.

Rajkumar and three others were abducted on Sunday last by Veerappan and his gang members from the actor’s farmhouse at Gajanur in Tamil Nadu.

In response to one of Veerappan’s demands for the speedy implementation of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal’s interim order and for finding a permanent solution to the row, the Chief Ministers pointed out to him the existence of the Cauvery River Authority, set up to address the issue. They said the tribunal’s final verdict was expected soon.

They also gave an account of the action taken so far with regard to riots of 1991 over the Cauvery issue, directed against the Tamils in Karnataka, and the alleged victims of the Special Task Force (STF), set up to nab Veerappan, over the years.

The governments have agreed to install a statue of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar in Bangalore. Similarly, a statue of Kannada poet Sarvajna would be erected in Chennai.

On the sensitive language issue, the response was that the matter was covered by a Union Government directive that wherever linguistic minorities constituted more than 15 per cent of the population, official notices, orders and rules should be issued in the minority language as well. “This is common to all states including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka”.

Regarding the Sadashiva panel, the explanation was that it was actually a two-member panel formed by the National Human Rights Commission to look into the charges of atrocities on tribesmen by the joint STF of the two states.

Tada charges would be dropped immediately, leading to the release of prisoners lodged in Karnataka jails and the demand for compensation to the families of the nine Dalits would be considered favourably after collecting particulars.

Similarly, Tamil Nadu would consider favourably the demand for releasing five persons from prisons in the state.

On the demand for raising tea price to Rs 15 a kg, the government explained the action taken to shore up the falling tea prices, including the reduction in sales tax and central sales tax on tea, increase in central subsidy and restrictions on import, leading to the selling price now going up to Rs 9.50 from the level of Rs 4.50 three months ago.

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