CHENNAI, Oct 10: In a significant change of strategy aimed at breaking the stalemate in the Rajkumar kidnap crisis, the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Governments have sent Tamils national movement leader P Nedumaran and two human rights activists along with official emissary R R Gopal on his fifth jungle mission to secure the release of the Kannada star and two other hostages.
A police press release said Nedumaran, Prof P Kalyani and G Sugumaran would go along with Gopal, while the three of them issued a joint statement saying they were treating the hostage crisis as a human rights issue and were acting in response to a request from the Chief Ministers of both the states.
The present move coincides with the hearing slated to be held in Supreme Court tomorrow against the release of TADA detenues in the two states as demanded by Veerappan. Chief ministers of the two states had earlier rejected any move to change the emissary or allow anybody else to accompany Gopal.
The profile of the new emissaries show that the Governments are now addressing not only Veerappan, but also his extremist associates from the Tamil Nadu Liberation Army.
Nedumaran, espousing what he calls Tamil nationalism, has already been approached by the brigand through an audio cassette two weeks ago.
The outlaw had then praised Nedumaran’s party for taking up issues like state terrorism and for supporting the LTTE. Veerappan had sought to strike a common chord with Nedumaran by claiming that he was pursuing through ‘armed struggle’ what the latter was doing within the democratic framework.
Prof Kalyani is a college teacher radical leanings, while Sukumaran is a PUCL activist and journalist at Pondicherry. Both are members of the ‘People’s Rights Federation’ of which Nedumaran is convener.
They said in their joint statement that they black laws’ like TADA and blamed the Governments’ refusal to concede ‘justified demands’ for the present crisis.
They were apparently referring to the long-pending demand of Veerappan for the release of all those held in Karnataka on charges of supporting the outlaw in his operations and which has now been stayed by the Supreme Court.
PTI / 10.10.2000.