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Patel to send paramilitary after Veerappan

Karnataka Chief Minister J H Patel on Monday said the state would seek the help of paramilitary forces to nab forest brigand Veerappan.

The sandalwood smuggler has held six government staff hostage since October 9.

Patel, however, said any such operation could take place only if the Tamil Nadu government agreed to it.

Queried about Nakeeran editor R Gopal's refusal to negotiate with Veerappan, Patel said it was the Tamil Nadu chief minister who should respond to it.

He denied reports that the special task force had failed in its duty to curb Veerappan's activities in Karnataka. "Any hasty action to secure the hostages will lead to loss of life," he added.

Meanwhile in Madras, former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha Jayaram urged the Centre to send the army after Veerappan.

(Bharatiya Janata Party leader in Karnataka assembly B S Yediyurappa had also urged the government the same. Karnataka should not take the Tamil Nadu government into confidence while dealing with the issue as Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was not interested in nabbing the criminal, he added. He termed Gopal's negotiations with the brigand as pure 'drama' and alleged that the Tamil government did not give the Border Security Force any freedom when they went after the brigand.)

In a hard hitting statement, she alleged the government was adopting a soft approach towards Veerappan and had helped him consolidate his position in the jungles. She wondered why Karunanidhi was sympathetic towards the poacher, who had claimed that he would kill 50,000 people if he was not granted general amnesty.

Jayalalitha said though the Karnataka chief minister had already sought the Centre's help, it would be given only if the governments made a joint request. And Karunanidhi, she added, had asserted that the task of arresting Veerappan should be left to the state governments!

"This shows that he is trying to give a breathing space to the poacher, who had tacitly helped him in the last general election," Jayalalitha alleged, "The chief minister is more concerned about his personal welfare than that of the country."

She demanded the Centre reject Karunanidhi's assertion that the task of nabbing the poacher be left to the state governments.

"It should also not agree to grant Veerappan general amnesty," she said.

Jayalalitha said the Centre and the Karnataka government should avail of the services of officers such as former Tamil Nadu director general of police W S Dawaram (he had headed the special task force during Jayalalitha's rule).

Meanwhile, in Gopal's absence, Karnataka Tamilar Sangham president R S Maran has offered to negotiate with Veerappan.


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