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Friday, 29 June, 2001, 07:54 GMT 08:54 UK
Indian bandit offers to surrender
A leading human rights group in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu says the celebrated bandit and poacher, Veerappan, who has spent several years on the run from the authorities, has offered to surrender in return for a total amnesty.

At a news conference, a spokesman for the Tamil National Movement, Mr Nedumaaran, played an audio cassette in which Veerappan said he wanted an end to what he called the hardship inflicted on innocent villagers by police searching for him.

Veerappan made a similar offer four years ago, but it was rejected.

Last year, Mr Nedumaaran successfully negotiated the release of the Indian film star, Rajkumar, who was kidnapped by Veerappan and held for several weeks.

Veerappan is reputed to have killed more than 130 police and forest officials.

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