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September 6, 2000
Karnataka HC gives another jolt to negotiators
The Karnataka high court has stayed the proceedings of the Justice A J Sadashiva Commission, constituted by the National Human Rights Commission, to probe alleged human rights violations by Special Task Force personnel during anti-Veerapan operations.
One of Veerappan's demands, in exchange for the release of Dr Rajakumar and three other persons he is holding hostage, has been that the Sadashiva Commission resume its hearings.
Acceding to another of his demands, the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments had set up a Rs 100 million compensation fund to provide relief to victims of alleged STF atrocities.
A division bench, comprising acting-Chief Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice R Gururajan, passed the orders on writ appeals filed by Assistant Commissioner of Police M Muthuraya and others on Tuesday.
The bench directed the NHRC not to take any steps based on the recommendations made by the panel.
The appeal was filed following the modification of an interim stay order granted by a single judge on the proceedings on an earlier petition filed by Muthuraya and others on March 27.
In the writ petition, the petitioners had challenged the constitution of the commission and had contended that the NHRC had no right to set up such a commission.
Subsequently, when the petition came up for hearing on August eight last, a single judge of the high court, Justice Viswanatha Shetty, modified the earlier interim order, allowing the commission to continue the probe.
The petition is still pending before the court. The appellants had challenged the modified interim order in their present appeal.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi will meet his Karnataka counterpart S M Krishna in Bangalore on Friday to decide on the next course of action in the Dr Rajakumar abduction crisis.
Karunanidhi told reporters in Madras that it was only after this meeting that a decision could be taken on whether journalist-emissary R R Gopal would be asked to venture into the forests again to negotiate with Veerappan for the release of the hostages. He ruled out any alternative arrangement to handle the situation.
Karunanidhi was reacting to questions regarding the situation arising out of Gopal's unsuccessful third mission to the jungles to secure the release of the hostages.
Karunanidhi said the main problem was due to the Supreme Court's stay order on the release of prisoners as demanded by Veerappan.
Gopal had waited for some days in the hope that the court proceedings would come to an early end. He returned after realising that a quick end to the hostage crisis was nowhere in sight.
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