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Long wait for mediator with Veerappan

Nakkeeran editor R Gopal and his colleagues stoned a tree for more than 20 minutes to send signals to the gang of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan to take them to the brigand's hide-out.

Gopal, who met Veerappan as an emissary of the Tamil Nadu government on August 2, said he had a hard time during the second visit.

The presence of the special task force personnel of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the forest area hampered his journey and delayed Veerappan sending his men to escort his team to the hide-out.

There was heavy rain and the team had to wait for more than a day before the brigand's men came. "As Veerappan had moved deep into the forest, we trekked nearly 50 km before reaching his hide-out," Gopal said.

As directed by Veerappan in an audio cassette, the team members took turns in stoning a tree for more than 20 minutes after which they received signals from Veerappan's men. Gopal had a bad time when some tribals told him the smuggler had already killed two hostages but it was proved wrong, he said.

Veerappan was first adamant that nothing short of amnesty would make him release the hostages, Gopal said.

When Gopal objected to the hostages being chained, the bandit immediately ordered that the fetters be removed, but warned that the hostages would shot dead if they tried to escape.

Barring Raju, who was sick, the other eight hostages were handcuffed in pairs. They broke down when they saw Gopal. One of them even fell at Gopal's feet, pleading for release.

Veerappan blamed Mohan Navas, an Tamil Nadu STF inspector for leaking information to Karnataka STP personnel about the movements of Gopal and his team members.

"My second trip would have been a failure, but I have the satisfaction of saving the life of at least one hostage," Gopal said.

Veerappan ready to settle for ransom to general amnesty
Karunanidhi takes a big chance with Veerappan mediation
Two acres and a general pardon, and Veerappan will worship Karunanidhi!
Veerappan threatens to behead hostages
Veerappan threatens to behead hostages
Veerappan finds himself in a tight spot
Hostage drama continues as Veerappan fails to contact authorities
Karnataka, Tamil Nadu governments promise pardon for Veerappan

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