Political parties expressed their disappointment at Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit's delay in making a decision on the release of the seven convicts in the assassination.

Tamil Nadu parties protest in Chennai demanding release of Rajiv Gandhi convicts
news Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case Tuesday, December 04, 2018 - 09:05

Political parties in the state, led by the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), staged a protest in Chennai over the release of the seven convicts in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Parties such as the DMK, VCK, CPI and CPI(M) were in attendance.

Vaiko, the leader of the MDMK, demanded that the Governor release the convicts under Article 161. Detained for their bid to picket the Raj Bhavan, the Governor's residence, Vaiko had called for the ouster of the Tamil Nadu Governor, shouting slogans such as, “Get out, Governor!”

Earlier, in an interview to Puthiya Thalaimurai, Vaiko had pointed to the hypocrisy of the Governor in giving his nod for the release of the three men convicted in the Dharmapuri bus burning case.

On February 2, 2000, the three life convicts – Nedunchezhian, Ravindran alias Madhu, and Muniappan - torched a bus in Dharmapuri district to express their anger over the conviction of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case. The three men, who were AIADMK members, poured petrol on the vehicle and set it ablaze even as three students from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University – Kokilavani, Gayathri and Hemalatha – were trapped inside. The students were burnt to death in the vehicle. The Supreme Court initially sentenced them to death but this was later commuted to a life sentence in 2016.

Background

On September 9, days after the Supreme Court directed Governor Banwarilal Purohit to take a decision regarding the imprisonment of the Rajiv Gandhi convicts, the cabinet, led by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, recommended that the constitutional head allow their release. The central government in the past has made it abundantly clear that it is against the release of the convicts - Murugan, Santhan, Robert Payas, Nalini, Ravichandran, Jayakumar and Perarivalan. It also maintained that remission of their sentence will set a 'dangerous precedent' and have 'international ramifications'.

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