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September 21, 2000
Karnataka bandh on September 28
Ignoring the Karnataka Government's appeal, the Dr Rajakumar Abhimanigala Sangha on Thursday called for a state-wide bandh on September 28 to draw the attention of the Union government over the delay in securing the release of the film star, who has spent 53 days in the captivity of forest brigand Veerappan.
Sangha president S R Govindu told a meeting, at the end of a silent procession in which film personalities participated, that the bandh was to draw the Centre's attention. A memorandum was submitted to the governor's office after the procession, which was marred by stray incidents of stone-throwing.
Sporting a beard, the actor's eldest son Shivarajkumar appealed to the people to observe the bandh peacefully. "The effect should reach Delhi," he announced as he was cheered by over 2000 fans of Dr Rajakumar.
On Wednesday, Karnataka Home Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge had appealed to organisations and individuals not to observe bandhs as they would come in the way of the early release of the actor.
Later, Shivarajkumar, without specifying any date, told newsmen that they would go on a hunger strike to demand the release of his father.
He was evasive on whether he found fault with the governments over the delay, and said, "I don't know. All we want is our father's release."
There were instances of releasing terrorists in the past in exchange for hostages, he said and cited the cases of the Kandahar plane hijack and former Union minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's daughter in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the law provided for saving the lives of innocents. "My father is innocent. I do not know why the Supreme Court is not realising this," he lamented.
Raghavendra Rajakumar and Puneet Rajakumar, other sons of the actor who were present, said their mother, hospitalised for chest pain on Wednesday evening, was recovering. They, however, feared that she may slip into depression.
The three-page memorandum urged the governor to prevail upon the Centre to take action as may be necessary for the safe and early release of Rajakumar.
At the meeting, Govindu said they would stage a dharna in front of the prime minister's office in New Delhi. The agitation would be conducted in phases.
The police had made elaborate security arrangements and had deployed the elite Rapid Action Force to prevent any untoward incident during the procession.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna called on Parvathamma, wife of Rajakumar, at a hospital and enquired about her health on Thursday.
She was admitted following complaints of chest pain and sweating.
Sources in the chief minister's secretariat said her condition was normal.
Her personal physician Dr Ramana Rao said she was improving.
''She is better and improving. There are no complications,'' Rao said.
In another development, government emissary R R Gopal left on Wednesday night on his fourth mission to meet Veerappan, in a bid to explain the predicament of the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments in resolving the kidnap crisis, official sources said.
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