OTHERS

Rajkumar release has brought relief, says Advani

NEW DELHI, NOV. 15. The Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani, today said that Kannada film icon, Mr. Rajkumar's release from the forest brigand, Veerappan has brought an immediate relief.

``It was very unfortunate that this episode dragged on for 109 days,'' Mr. Advani told reporters at his North Block Office here.

He said that about a couple of times during Rajkumar's captivity, there were hopes of his release, but it did not come through. Some indications of his release were available for the past couple of days but everybody was keeping the fingers crossed.

Favouring a national policy on tackling crimes such as hijacking, extortion and blackmailing, Mr. Advani said he would suggest to the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of the Chief Ministers to evolve a consensus on this.

``We will see if we can have a policy on this. No party can unilaterally do it, we have to have a consensus on this,'' the Home Minister said.

Mr. Advani, who returned here today after attending the ceremonies marking the creation of the Jharkhand State, expressed the confidence that all the three new States would be stable, politically and economically.

Asked about ``weak points'' in Jharkhand, he said immediate concern would be to streamline law and order and deal with violence as Jharkhand and Chattisgarh were affected by Naxalite problem. ``Challenges are there before and the three new States Governments and the Chief Ministers are conscious of these challenges. Despite some hiccups, the creation of the new States has been smooth,'' he added.

In Uttaranchal, Mr. Advani said, tourism held vast potential of development and it could be one of the biggest revenue earners for the hilly State. The creation of the three States meant fulfilling an important aspect of the NDA's mandate.