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September 23, 2000
Krishna to appeal for bandh call withdrawal
Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna will personally dissuade organisations from going ahead with the September 28 statewide bandh called to protest the delay in securing the release of Dr Rajakumar from forest brigand Veerappan.
Briefing newspersons on the all-party meeting, fifth since the abduction on July 30, Home Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and Law Minister D B Chandre Gowda said the Dr Rajakumar Fans Association and Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce should withdraw the bandh call and co-operate with the government.
Declining to answer a question on whether the bandh was politically motivated as some political parties had expressed their moral support to it, Kharge said till Dr Rajakumar was freed, no step endangering his release should be taken.
At the meeting, Krishna briefed other parties on the developments in the Dr Rajakumar's abduction episode and the Ramakrishna Commission report recommending five per cent reservation in jobs for candidates from rural areas, he said.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders claimed that they had reiterated their suggestion to the government to explore alternative strategies even while continuing the negotiations. They wanted the government to convey the displeasure in Karnataka over Tamil Nadu's affidavit filed in the apex court.
Emphasising that negotiations would continue, Chandre Gowda said the Centre's affidavit before the Supreme Court in the Terrorist And Disruptive Activities Act detenues case on a petition filed by Abdul Karim, father of sub inspector Shakeel Ahmed killed by the Veerappan's gang, was positive. The state government was in constant touch with the Centre, he added.
He said their information was that emissary R R Gopal was awaiting signals from the brigand.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka assembly Jagadish Shettar said the government should permit advocate Venugopal, arguing the cases for the TADA detenues, to be sent for negotiations.
Janata Dal (Secular) leader Siddaramaiah too supported this suggestion, he added.
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