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August 1, 2000
Emissary needs two days before meeting Veerappan
Shobha Warrier in Madras
In all probability, Dr Rajakumar will have to spend at least two more days in the thick jungle with Veerappan and his gang as his company.
Veerappan's practice is to change his hideouts frequently when he has hostages with him. Every day, he moves from one place to another with the hostages. Usually, he walks at least 8 to 10 kilometres a day, and it is anybody's guess how a 70-year-old man who has lived a life of luxury for the last 50 years can walk 10 kilometers in hostile territory, that too braving the rain.
On Monday, Nakkeeran editor R Gopal agreed to go as an emissary to meet Veerappan following requests from the chief ministers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Even though the TN CM informed the press that Gopal would go to meet Veerappan on Tuesday, Gopal had no such plans. He wanted at least two more days to prepare and establish contacts with Veerappan.
An unrelated incident on Monday night may postpone his trip at least by a day. Selavraj, a Nakkeeran reporter, was hacked to death by a six-member gang at Perambalur, about 40 km from Trichi. Nakkeeran is famous for its investigative journalism, and the magazine does not mince words while exposing people.
On hearing the news, Gopal rushed to Trichi on Monday night, and is expected to return to Madras only on Tuesday evening.
Gopal's secretary Siva Kumar told rediff.com, "The police arrested six people in the morning but we have no idea who they are. The murder could be connected with some stories the reporter had written. But we haven't received any confirmed reports from Trichi. About our editor meeting Veerappan, he categorically told everyone yesterday that it would not be possible to go today. The murder is not the reason for the postponement of his meeting with Veerappan. He needs some time. But we will come to know about his confirmed plans only when he comes back in the evening. You will have to wait till then."
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