Tamil Nadu Congress Committee leader KS Alagiri on Saturday (November 7) reacted to DMK president Stalin’s request for the release of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, saying only the court can decide on the release of the life convicts. He urged political parties to desist from demanding their release.
In a statement, Alagiri said that if the convicts were released, similar demands would be made for the release of other convicts who have spent more than 25 years in jail.
“We will accept if the court decides to release the seven convicts. However, political parties seeking their release is not acceptable. Those who committed the murder should be seen as murderers and not as Tamilians,” he said in a statement.
“If we start releasing murderers, then there will be no need for police stations and court or to speak about law and order. It is not the Tamil culture to support the murderers of the former prime minister,” the statement said.
MK Stalin had requested Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit to accept the recommendation of the state Cabinet and remit the life sentence of the convicts, Nalini, TVL Sriharan alias Murugan, Santhan, A G Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, and P Ravichandran.
He had said that the convicts have been in jail for more than 30 years. He cited Article 161 of the Constitution of India, in which the governor has the power to suspend, remit or commute any sentence of a person convicted of an offence under any law. “A decision has not been taken by your excellency for over two years which has been causing hardship to the convicts,” he wrote in the letter.
Other political parties, activists and organisations have also demanded the release of the convicts.
The Tamil Nadu governor had called on President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss Perarivalan’s pardon plea after the Supreme Court expressed its unhappiness over the two-year delay in taking a decision.
On May 21, 1991, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in a suicide bombing in Sriperumbudur in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The seven life convicts were found guilty of facilitating the assassination.