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August 23, 2000
Hostage crisis in decisive stage: Krishna
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Wednesday said the hostage crisis has entered a decisive stage with the Tamil Nadu government moving in to drop all cases pending against five Tamil extremists whose release forest brigand Veerappan has demanded.
Veerappan has held Kannada film icon Dr Rajakumar and three others hostage in the jungles bordering Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for over 20 days now.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi told reporters in Madras that the cases against the five extremists were being withdrawn and they would be freed as soon as the on-going negotiations with Veerappan reached a conclusive stage.
Talking to newspersons in Bangalore, Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna said efforts to secure the release of Dr Rajakumar and three others were "close" to a decisive stage and said a message from journalist-emissary R R Gopal was expected by Thursday on the status of his second round of negotiations with Veerappan.
He said the feedback received from Tamil Nadu raised hopes "that we are nearing the objective (of ending the hostage crisis)."
Krishna denied reports that Veerappan had placed new demands.
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