Twenty eight years after the conviction of the assassins of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, members of the film fraternity and netizens are taking social media by storm, demanding the release of the prisoner. With the state government having passed a cabinet resolution for the release of 8 convicts, their fate now lies in the hands of Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, thus prompting the hashtag - #28YearsEnoughGovernor.
The Governor is yet to give his seal of approval, and prominent members of the film industry have now appealed on social media, to get the Governor's attention. Amongst these known faces are actor Vijay Sethupathi, Director Mari Selvaraj, Director Ranjith, Director Ram. Director Seenu Ramasamy and music Director GV Prakash.
It's not just a Tamil issue. Request for Consideration of human rights. Please Have mercy Hon. Governor. Kindly Act NOW Sir.#28YearsEnoughGovernorâ€” VijaySethupathi (@VijaySethuOffl) November 30, 2018
Dear Governor, Incarceration is not the solution. Do what is just! #28YearsEnoughGovernorâ€” pa.ranjith (@beemji) November 30, 2018
Enough is enough ... let them live a life ... share till it reaches friends #28YearsEnoughGovernorâ€” G.V.Prakash Kumar (@gvprakash) November 30, 2018
Speaking to TNM, K Sivakumar an advocate and Perarivalan's counsel says that while no special efforts were made to get the actor and directors involved, there has been communication over the matter constantly.
"Vijay Sethupathi even spoke about the issue on a video earlier regarding the release of the prisoners. And several film personalities have come out openly in support of the prisoners. We started a social media campaign because we have literally done everything else. The TN government has passed a resolution and yet the Governor is delaying the release. There is nothing that can be done legally. This is to show the Governor that the people of Tamil Nadu are watching his actions and waiting for him to do the needful," he says.
On September 8, Vijay Sethupathi welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to allow the state to take a call on the matter. He further stated that he was happy about the outcome of the case.
"I especially feel happy for Perarivalan's mother Arputhammal. I believe Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami should use this right given to the state, release brother Perarivalan and others. I actually spoke to Perarivalan on the phone when he came out on parole and I remember his mother handing him the phone and calling him 'kutti'. He must be over 40 years old but in her eyes he is still a child. He has been in jail for very long. I think this punishment is enough," said the actor.
On September 9, days after the Supreme Court directed Governor Banwarilal Purohit to take a decision regarding their imprisonment, 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 maintained that remission of their sentence will set a 'dangerous precedent' and have 'international ramifications'. But legal and constitution experts tell TNM that their release is imminent and that Governor is left with no choice. Moreover, the centre has no say in the release of these prisoners.