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Monday, 9 December, 2002, 18:22 GMT
Huge crowds at India hostage funeral
Villagers surround the body of former Minister Nagappa to his home village in Kamagere
Mr Nagappa's funeral drew large crowds of villagers
Hundreds of people have attended the emotionally charged funeral of former minister H Nagappa in his home town, Kamagere, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

The minister's body was found on Sunday by police in a jungle - more than 100 days after he had been kidnapped and kept hostage by the notorious bandit, Veerappan.

Mr Nagappa's family refused the state government's offer to conduct a state funeral for him in protest at what they see as the government's failure to rescue him from Veerappan.

Angry mobs prevented a ministerial representative from paying homage.

Asked to leave

The former minister's supporters shouted angry slogans against the governing Congress government and demanded its resignation.

Police were asked to leave the spot where Mr Nagappa's body was buried.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha
Jayalalitha: Nagappa's supporters are angry at her government
Meanwhile, the state's chief minister, SM Krishna has announced a reward of 20 million Rupees ($400,000) for anyone with information that could lead to the bandit's arrest.

He is expected to write to the Indian prime minister on Tuesday to ask for assistance in his government's search for the notorious forest brigand.

Mr Krishna and other senior ministers decided to keep away from the funeral.

Violence

"Their presence would have triggered another round of violence," a senior police official said.

Police had to open fire on Sunday night when Mr Nagappa's supporters turned violent after hearing news of their leader's violent death.

As his body was being taken to Mr Nagappa's home from Ramapura, a police vehicle was attacked and several policemen had to flee as stones were thrown at them.

Leader of the state's BJP party, Basavaraj Patil Sedam, has called for the chief minister's resignation.

The leading southern Indian film actor Rajkumar, who was successfully released from bandit Veerappan's custody two years ago, joined in paying his respects to Mr Nagappa.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Adam Mynott in Delhi
"He disappeared from his home kidnapped by Veerappan"
See also:

08 Dec 02 | South Asia
09 Dec 02 | South Asia
22 Nov 02 | South Asia
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