POTA detenu and Tamil National Movement leader P Nedumaran and a senior advocate, who fought cases for TADA detenues said to be Veerappan aides, on Thursday offered to serve as emissary to secure the release of former Karnataka minister Nagappa even as the hunt for the forest brigand continued on war footing.
The offers came after Karnataka Law Minister DB Chandre Gowda
publicly sought an efficient negotiator to defuse the crisis even as he did not rule out a "massive assault" against Veerappan.
Veerappan is reported to have demanded the release of Nedumaran in his cassette sent to the government two days back.
Gowda's remarks on utilising the services of emissaries were in contrast to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's opposition to holding negotiations with the forest brigand.
Asserting that the government wanted a negotiated settlement to the crisis, Gowda told newsmen here "our priority is for negotiations. We are trying to spot an emissary. All those who can effectively negotiate with Veerappan are welcome."
Speaking to newsmen informally outside the POTA court at suburban Poonamalee in Tamil Nadu Neduraman said "if the situation demands, I will not fail to discharge my humanitarian duty", thereby indicating his readiness to undertake a trip.
Stressing that he was not willing to come out of jail using the latest kidnap incident, he said he would prefer to get released after proving his innocence in the courts.
Recalling his mission to secure the release of Kannada superstar, Rajkumar, two years ago, he said he had undertaken the mission only with the hope that the kidnap episode would not result in any ill-will between the people of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. "The trip was on humanitarian considerations".
Advocate Venugopal's offer
Speaking to reporters after meeting Chief Minister SM Krishna here on Thursday evening, the advocate Venugopal said his undertaking the mission would, however, depend on his being able to establish contact with Veerappan.
He also said he would like to take three journalists and two senior citizens along with him to ensure transparency in negotiations. He hoped Tamil Nadu would also agree to his visit.
Venugopal said Krishna had told him that he was willing to send him, but that he should establish contact with Veerappan.
He, however, said the situation now was not the same as it prevailed when Kannada film icon Rajkumar was held in captivity by Veerappan, as mediators were available then from Tamil Nadu.
Hundreds of members of the Karnataka STF combed the Satyamangalam jungle spread over a tri-junction of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and were preparing to set up vantage points.