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Phoolan urges Veerappan to release hostages

Reformed bandit turned Samajwadi politician Phoolan Devi on Tuesday urged sandalwood smuggler Veerappan to release the six hostages in his custody and surrender.

Phoolan Devi, who was in Nagpur on a two-day visit, was talking to the press informally.

"Both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu should honour the terms of Veerappan's surrender," she said.

Phoolan said there was 'no harm' if Veerappan had to stay in confinement for sometime -- after all, she herself had undergone 11 years in jail, hadn't she?

However, the People's Representative from Mirzapur said she did not identify in any way with Veerappan. While the forest brigand had opted for a criminal's life, she was forced into one. What she did, she claimed, was out of sheer compulsion, but in Veerappan's case it was a matter of choice.

She also spoke at length about the Uttar Pradesh situation. The Bharatiya Janata Party-Bahujan Samaj Party government, in her opinion, was most 'opportunistic.

"No one should shed tears for its break-up," she said.

The ex-dacoit held former chief minister Mayawati responsible for her (Phoolan) not making the Nobel laurels this year. (She was a nominee, but unfortunately...) Had it not been for the CM who used the entire state might to pull her down, the MP held, the Nobel would have been hers.

But that was all right -- what Mayawati did to the state was even worse.

"With her misrule, she has pushed the state 50 years back into the ages," Phoolan alleged, "She spent millions of rupees on the Ambedkar park and the like but never bothered to put up a housing colony for the poor!" the Samajwadi Party MP said.

She told the Marathi reporters that she, along with husband Umed Singh, had given up Hinduism and embraced Buddhism last year. This, she claimed, was her way of protesting the illtreatment of lower caste Hindus by the 'elite' .

Phoolan was also vociferous about reservations for women in Parliament.

"It should be increased from 30 per cent to 50 per cent," she said, "It is male chauvinism that is coming in the way of granting equal rights to women."

Pointing to her husband, Phoolan remarked he was no exception to this rule.


Karnataka will not send emissary to Veerappan

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