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August 2, 2000
Veerappan tape speaks of real threat
N Sathiya Moorthy in Madras
Dreaded poacher Veerappan has threatened to do away with his four kidnap victims, including Kannada super-star Rajakumar, if the two state governments did not meet his demands.
"Do not underestimate me, or think that I will not carry out my threat this time, as I had last time round," Veerappan says in a section of the taped message sent to the Karnataka chief minister, through Parvathamma, wife of Rajakumar, soon after the kidnap drama.
Veerappan claims that he did not have enough men or material at his disposal on earlier occasions, when he had to yield to pressure, and release the hostages without his demands being met. "It won't be that way, this time," he says in the tape, adding, "Now I have more men and resources."
However, the tape is silent on the kind of demand that can be expected from Veerappan.
Indications are that the leaked portion of the tape has its origins in circles close to Nakkeeran Gopal, the emissary who has gone away to negotiate peace with Veerappan, and obtain the freedom of Rajakumar and three others.
"The tape clearly shows that neither Veerappan, nor Gopal could be blamed if his demands were not by the two state governments, or the Centre, as may be the case. But who will have to take the decision will be based only on the basis of the demand, which is not known," says an informed source.
This source, like many others, hope that Veerappan may release one or all three hostages other than Rajakumar, while putting down his conditions that he wanted to be met. "He believes in dramatic effect, and the release of the three hostages, the family drama attending on them, and also the stories that they would be ready to tell on release, would all have an impact on the public mood and the government, alike. At least in this respect, we have to respect Veerappan's earthy cunning, which has helped him, as much as his gun and terror tactics."
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