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August 12, 2000
Karnataka tries to prove sincerity to Veerappan
Fakir Chand in Bangalore
The Karnataka Government will send proof of response to 10 demands of bandit king Veerappan through emissary R R Gopal by Monday, for the early release of Kannada film star Dr Rajakumar and three other hostages.
The Kannada thespian is being held captive, along with three others, by the outlaw in the Satymangalam forest range for 13 days.
On his return from Madras, state Chief Minister S M Krishna announced that his government was collecting and compiling notifications, orders and relevant documents in support of its response to each demand and as concrete proof of accepting them, with facts and figures.
"Though the second Saturday is a government holiday, officials are working overtime to compile all relevant information for handing over them to Gopal by August 14, so that he can proceed to the jungle and convince Veerappan of the state's sincerity in fulfilling his demands," the chief minister stated.
Krishna sought the people's co-operation, especially millions of Dr Rajakumar's fans, in resolving the crisis by remaining calm and maintaining peace, as they have been doing during the last fortnight.
"I appeal to all for bearing with the government and appreciate the inherent constraints of the state in such a delicate and sensitive operation as the situation continues to be critical."
The neighbouring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are collecting material to substantiate their responses to Veerappan's demands and the clarifications or proof of acting on them as he had sought in the video-cassette sent through Gopal.
On Veerappan's third demand for second official language status to Tamil in Karnataka, equal opportunities to Tamils in education and employment and all official orders should be issued in Tamil, Krishna said he had already clarified to Veerappan that the state government could not act on this demand in toto, as there was no provision, in the light of a central government order.
Tamils constitute the second largest segment in the state, next to Kannadigas.
"The Government of India's orders on recruitment and linguistic polices are common to all states. While we appreciate Veerappan's concern for the welfare of Tamils in Karnataka, what he is asking for is beyond our ambit, just as it would be impossible for Tamil Nadu to declare Kannada as the second language."
On the Cauvery river water dispute, Krishna disclosed that both governments had clarified to Veerappan that it was beyond their ambit, as the Centre had set up the Cauvery River Water Authority with the prime minister as its chairman, to implement the interim order of the Cauvery Tribunal, in conformity with Supreme Court directions.
"The issue of referring the dispute to the International Court of Justice at The Hague does not rise as it only deals with disputes arising between or among countries and not between two states within a country, and that too disputes involving only international rivers."
In response to Veerappan's demand to release all 51 detenues in a Mysore jail under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, Krishna said the fugitive was being convinced with legal evidence, to prove the state government's efforts during the last one week in securing bail for them from the sessions court in Mysore for setting them free.
In pursuit of the government's response to Veerappan on August 6-7, the state public prosecutor had petitioned the Mysore court on August 8 to drop all charges against them. Objections were filed on August 10 and the cases came for hearing the next day. The court has now adjourned them to August 14.
After charges under TADA are dropped, the court can consider the bail applications moved by the accused. ''We are hopeful that the court will take into consideration their long detention in jails and grant them bail, since the Act is no longer on the statute. Everything possible is being done by the state, with speed and alacrity, to secure Rajakumar's release at the earliest," Krishna claimed.
On whether there was uncertainty on the release of the hostages, Krishna replied, "Hopes of getting them back are very much alive."
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