The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nagappa rescue mission hits Jaya hurdle

Chennai, Sept. 18: The Karnataka government’s plan to send a team of emissaries to forest brigand Veerappan, who has been holding former minister H. Nagappa hostage for over three weeks, suffered a setback with Jayalalithaa refusing to reconsider Tamil Nadu’s decision not to send any mediator to resolve the crisis.

Two human rights activists from Tamil Nadu, Professor Kalyani and Professor Sukumaran — associates of the banned Tamil Nationalist Movement leader, P. Nedumaran, currently detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, who played a role in freeing the Kannada thespian Raj Kumar from Veerappan’s clutches two years ago — had agreed to go to the forests on humanitarian grounds to get Nagappa released.

Nedumaran’s associates, who met Karnataka home minister Mallikarjun Karge in Bangalore yesterday, had agreed to go to the forests on a “rescue Nagappa” mission provided both state governments agreed on deputing them with a certain immunity that was granted to interlocutors who had negotiated Raj Kumar’s release. They also said they would have to consult Nedumaran in prison, if both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were open to the idea.

These efforts were made against the backdrop of appeals by Nagappa’s wife, Parimala, requesting both states to accord top priority to the safe release of her husband and to temporarily halt Special Task Force operations.

The Karnataka government under chief minister S.M. Krishna has been open to the idea of sending an emissary to Veerappan. However, the proposal of sending Tamil activist ‘Kolathur’ Mani, currently lodged in Bellary prison, is fraught with legal obstacles. The choice of emissaries had finally narrowed down to Kalyani and Sukumaran even though Veerappan in his second cassette had specifically asked for only Mani.

Asked about the latest on Nagappa’s release, Jayalalithaa said that officially there was no information yet from Karnataka on the developments of the past week.

“There are reports that Karnataka had stopped STF operations in their state but on our part, the STF continued its forest combing to nab the brigand and we have no intention to call off our operations,” she said.

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