Friday, November 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Centre’s plan to nab Veerappan
From T R Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 16 — The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government has sent a proposal to the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Governments to launch a commando operation to nab or obliterate forest brigand Veerappan or make way for Central intervention.

The Union Home Ministry has underlined the imperative need to get on with the operation without wasting time. If the two state goverments lack the wherewithal or the expertise to undertake such an operation, the Centre will despatch NSG personnel to the Satyamangalam forest where Veerappan has been hiding for a decade.

The Centre is understood to have informed the two state governments that the highly motivated NSG commandos are specially trained to deal with terrorists in all kinds of terrain, be it the jungles, mountains, deserts.

The communication from the Ministry of Home Affairs is understood to have been despatched to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna within hours of Kannada cine-star Raj Kumar’s release by Veerappan. The response from the two state governments is awaited.

It is learnt that the Home Ministry had proposed such action to the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Governments a month back but Veerappan appears to have got wind of that. The forest brigand was quick in conveying to his non-governmental interlocutors if any commando raid took place then he would be left with no option but to kill Rajkumar.

Mr Karunanidhi and Mr Krishna urged the Centre not to precipitate matters and to permit the two state governments to continue with their strategy of holding discussions with Veerappan.

Highly placed sources in the government indicated that Rajkumar had suffered a paralytic condition in his left leg around the same time that the Centre dropped the idea of unleashing a commando operation.

It is apparent that Veerappan was finding it extremely difficult to move Rajkumar frequently from one camp to the other in the jungles because of his health problem. Sources said the forest brigand was moving to a new hideout in the jungles every second or third day. Ensuring that Rajkumar remained in good health was increasingly becoming a headache for Veerappan.

Rajkumar was becoming a liability and with the Supreme Court having put a spoke in the wheels of the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Governments in acceding to Veerappan’s demands, the latter had decided to spring a surprise and release Rajkumar so that he had enough time to move to a safer hideout in the Satyamangalam jungles.Back


Jubilant fans mob Rajkumar

BANGALORE, Nov 16 (PTI) — After three months of captivity in the jungles, Kannada film icon Rajkumar returned to a warm welcome by his admirers to tell his story that a woman had played a major role in securing freedom for him and another hostage from forest bandit Veerappan.

Rajkumar and his family members landed at Jakkur airstrip, amidst cries of welcome from his fans who mobbed him and garlanded him.

Later, he was brought to the city where he addressed a press conference in the presence of Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna to narrate his 109 days in the company of Veerappan and his men.

He paried a question whether any ransom was paid for securing his release by abruptly terminating the interaction with the press when asked about reports that a huge sum had been paid to Veerappan.

A clean-shaven, harried looking but an emotional Rajkumar said Veerappan had treated him well during captivity and had bought him and his nephew new clothes. He described him as a man with “some humanness”.

Clad in a dhoti and shirt, the actor said: “When I left the jungles and saw the roads, the people and the buses, I wondered whether it was a dream or reality,” he said.

He said initially he was to be released within 15 days but hopes were dashed when successive official mediating missions failed.

Thanking Tamil Nationalist Movement leader and emissary P. Nedumaran for his role in securing his freedom, Rajkumar said the four missions undertaken independently by the other emissary — Nakeeran Gopal — had not yielded any result but only raised hopes.

He said a woman doctor, Bhanu, accompanied by two more, walked into the jungles a few days ago when he was taking an afternoon nap. He was surprised to be woken up by a woman who said she was a doctor and conducted a medical check up on him.

She assured him that she would leave the forest only after securing his release.

Rajkumar said Bhanu suggested to him that he should help her in expediting his release by enacting a drama to instil fear in the bandit that his health was deteriorating and the pulse rate was down.

He took the clue and acted as per her advice. After checking his pulse, Bhanu told Veerappan that it was dangerous to hold the actor any longer in captivity.

Bhanu and her two colleagues left the forest only to return after five days and stayed with them. 

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