Rediff Navigator News

Bombayite Banner

Veerappan threatens to behead hostages

Forest brigand Veerappan has threatened to behead the nine Karnataka forest personnel he is holding hostage if his demand -- granting him an amnesty -- is not conceded within 10 days.

Disclosing this to the media, Tamil Nadu government emissary and Nakkeeran editor R Gopal who met Veerappan in his forest hideout, said the notorious criminal was also adamant that all the 10 demands for his surrender and the release of the hostages should be met.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, who watched a video cassette sent by Veerappan detailing his demands and other conditions, said he would discuss the matter with the Karnataka government after his return from Delhi, the editor said.

Veerappan is insisting that the grant of amnesty should be written down like a land deal signed by the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka chief ministers. He says the Tamil Nadu government should convey its decision through All India Radio before the end of the month, failing which he would kill the hostages.

The brigand told Gopal that he was not begging for his life as was sought to made out in the press.

Gopal said his mission was over for the time being and it was for the two governments to take a decision and convey it to Veerappan.

Stating that he was risking his life whenever he met the poacher, Gopal said, "I cannot act as a postman." Moreover, he added, Veerappan is a hardcore criminal and there is no guarantee that he would not harm him and his men.

''Next time I go into the forest, Veerappan may hold me also hostage, to exert pressure on the governments,'' he added.

He said Velayutham, one of the hostages who knew Tamil, had written a letter to Karunanidhi and another hostage to Karnataka Chief Minister J H Patel, urging them to save their lives.

The editor said he had handed over the letters and the cassette to Karunanidhi on Wednesday evening. The chief minister had instructed the chief secretary to send the letter and a copy of the cassette to Patel.

Gopal said the hostages were in good condition, but seemed worried and dejected as each day passed.

He said the hostages had been shifted to nine hideouts so far and were made to trek, on an average, 15 km a day in the forest terrain.

Only when the hostages were reluctant to trek did Veerappan shout at them. Otherwise, he treated them well.

The editor described as false reports in a section of the media that the hostages were handcuffed. Only on the day of their capture were their hands tied, Veerappan told Gopal.

All the hostages were given three meals a day and Veerappan had even allowed Gopal's team to give them bread,biscuits and some medicines, the editor added.

Veerappan warned the hostages that if anyone escaped from his custody, he would severe the limbs of the other hostages. This had instilled fear in the hostages and they were unanimous that none of them would make any attempt to escape, Gopal said.

The hostages, Gopal said, had threatened to go on a fast till he rescued them, but he had dissuaded them, saying such a step would aggravate the situation.

He said the capture of the forest personnel was a well-executed plan. Veerappan's men, in the disguise of forest personnel, had watched their movements for nearly 10 days before abducting them at gunpoint.

Gopal faulted both the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments for underestimating the strength of the Veerappan gang. The police in the two states had claimed that there were only four or five men left with the brigand. But Gopal had seen at least 20 men.

In another development, Karnataka Minister of State for Home R Roshan Baig said his government will take a decision on the amnesty demand after seeing the video cassette sent by him.

Addressing the media in Mangalore, he said the amnesty demand was new as he had only sought protection to his life earlier. Granting amnesty would involve several legal procedures and the government would have to look into them.

He said Director General of Police T Srinivasulu, who rushed to Madras on Thursday morning, would return with the cassette on Friday.

He denied reports that some of the hostages had been freed.


Cough... cough... cough... to save your lives!

'If the police kills two of his men, Veerappan kills four policemen'

Tell us what you think of this report

Home | News | Business | Cricket | Movies | Chat
Travel | Life/Style | Freedom | Infotech

Copyright 1997 Rediff On The Net
All rights reserved