BODY OF KIDNAPPED INDIAN OFFICIAL FOUND
by Aman Singh
American Reporter India Correspondent
New Delhi, India
NEW DELHI, Dec. 8, 2002 -- The president of a major political party and chief minister of the Indian state of Karnataka was found dead today, 106 days after he was kidnapped by a dreaded bandit and sandalwood smuggler known as Veerapan.
While police have confirmed the death of Nagappa, who uses only one name, they did not state the cause. The bandit had asked that Indian journalist Kolathur Mani to be sent to him as an emissary to negotiate release of the minister but Mani did not respond.
Meanwhile, Nagappa's family received another audiocassette from Veerapan, the sixth since the abduction, in which Veerapan reportedly said that a special task force that had been deployed to hunt him down and recover Nagappa were responsible for the politician's death. Verappan claimed Nagappa was shot by members of the government task force.
Activists in the late minister's political party, Janata Dal (United), which Nagappa headed, and other local residents of Bangalore, Karnataka's capital, took to the streets when his death was announced, and there have been reports of rioting in several parts of the city. The government, on the other hand, has not yet offfered an offixcial response.