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Patel, Karunanidhi will meet on Saturday to tackle Veerappan

Karnataka Chief Minister J H Patel will hold talks with his Tamil Nadu counterpart M Karunanidhi in Madras on Saturday evening about tackling forest brigand Veerappan.

The dreaded outlaw has held six men hostage since October 9.

Patel and Karunanidhi spoke on the telephone on Wednesday morning during which they fixed a face-to-face meeting.

This follows Nakeeran editor R Gopal's refusal to act as a negotiator in the case again. Gopal, who had refused earlier, had been approached again by the authorities. He had promised to give a final reply on Thursday, after listening to Veerappan's taped demands.

The editor informed Karunanidhi that his earlier effort was misconstrued by some political parties and media and, therefore, he was not willing to act negotiator again.

Meanwhile, Patel apprised Prime Minister I K Gujral of the latest developments on the issue. He said Gujral exhibited a helpful attitude. However, central help would be sought only as a last resort -- definitely, only after talks with Karunanidhi.

He expressed hopes of getting Gopal to change his mind.


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