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September 9, 2000
Karnataka opposition supports negotiations with bandit
Opposition parties in Karnataka Saturday agreed to stand by the state government's decision to stick to the current strategy of negotiations to resolve the Dr Rajakumar abduction crisis.
An all-party meeting convened by the Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna, the fourth after forest bandit Veerappan kidnapped Dr Rajakumar on July 30, endorsed the steps taken by the Karnataka and the Tamil Nadu governments to secure the safe release of Dr Rajakumar, Home Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge said.
It was decided at the meeting to continue to use journalist R Gopal's services as an emissary to communicate with the bandit.
Kharge said opposition party leaders said the alternatives should be considered only when the on-going negotiations fail.
Veerappan has demanded the release of 121 TADA detainees lodged in the Mysore jail and some Tamil extremists in exchange of Dr Rajakumar's freedom.
Though the state government had agreed to his demands, the Supreme Court stayed the release of the TADA detainees following a special leave petition filed by Abdul Kareem, father of Shakeel Ahmed - a cop who was killed by Veerappan and his gang.
Kharge said the state would make its pleadings before the SC on September 16 and Law Minister D B Chandregowda would elicit views of the opposition in a couple of days on these.
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