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August 1, 2000
Veerappan may seek amnesty: Official
Rajakumar's abduction by Veerappan, who has been charged with 120 killings and numerous other crimes, triggered unrest in Bangalore on Monday as angry fans attacked vehicles and forced businesses to close.
Rajakumar is a cult figure in Karnataka. Now 72, he has acted in 210 Kannada films.
Most shops and businesses remained closed in Bangalore on Tuesday morning too and public transport was off the roads after an organisation of Kannadigas called for a general strike to protest against the kidnapping. There were no reports of violence, police said.
The screen idol was seized at gunpoint by Veerappan and his gang on Sunday night from his farmhouse in the village of Gajanur, about 225 km (140 miles) south of Bangalore and just inside Tamil Nadu.
Veerappan had in the past kidnapped government officials and a pair of wildlife photographers, hoping to bargain for amnesty in exchange for their safe return. But authorities dragged out negotiations and the hostages were released.
"At this point of time, we expect him to once again demand amnesty for his crimes and rehabilitation," a senior Karnataka state government official said.
"Since those he kidnapped in the past were not big enough for the government to take his demands seriously, we feel he has resorted to kidnapping someone as important as Rajakumar," said the official, who asked not to be identified.
Government officials in Madras said an emissary chosen by the Tamil Nadu government to receive Veerappan's demands had yet to leave Madras to meet the brigand.
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