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September 4, 2000
Nagappa's daughter unaware of his abduction
M D Riti in Bangalore
"My daughter Divya does not know that Veerappan has kidnapped her father," says Nalini Nagappa, wife of Nagappa, who is one among those whom the forest brigand abducted along with Kannada film star Dr Rajakumar and his son-in-law S A Govindaraj. "She thinks that he has gone to the jungle to make a film about Veerappan," Nalini says.
Even as everyone is concerned about the anguish of Dr Rajakumar's family, Nalini and her six-year-old daughter wait patiently for the return of their breadwinner. Nalini now stays with her brother in Bangalore awaiting her husband's return, aware that if Veerappan were to eliminate a hostage as a warning about the seriousness of his intentions, he will pick the least high-profile and most expendable one among them.
"I never dreamt that a relatively small film personality like my husband would become the target of Veerappan," she says sadly now. "He just told me he was going on a pilgrimage with Govindaraj saar and would be back in three days."
Veerappan abducted Nagappa as he wanted two or three people apart from Dr Rajakumar. Govindaraj was an obvious choice, Nagappa just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Nagappa is an assistant director who is still struggling to establish himself. Nalini is finding it difficult to manage her day-to-day expenses without his support. The Kannada Film Directors' Association gave her two thousand rupees, which sustained her for some days. Later, the Shivarajakumar Fans' Association donated groceries and some more money on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturti on Friday.
Authorities in Divya's school are co-operating in maintaining the myth that Nalini has created for her - that Nagappa is away on a long stint of film shooting.
"I am used to the long absences of my husband when he is away shooting," says Nalini. "But this is entirely different. He would have provided for me financially in his absence. Now, it is a struggle from one day to another, with an uncertain future."
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