Kin of those who died with Rajiv Gandhi unhappy with SC verdict, Cong to protest

TNCC leaders and some in the Congress party have expressed their discontent with the Supreme Court’s verdict, suspending Perarivalan’s life sentence.
Perarivalan, convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, speaks to the media
Perarivalan, convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, speaks to the media
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While many across Tamil Nadu celebrated the release of Perarivalan, who was convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assasination case, the families of those who were killed in the blast targeting the former Prime Minister are upset. Speaking to TNM, League Mohan, the son of League Munusamy— a former TNCC Member of Legislative Council (MLC) who died in the blast along with Rajiv Gandhi says, “They have a released a murderer today. Does this mean they are going to release all convicted murderers? After killing the Prime Minister of the country himself, today they are distributing sweets and celebrating his release. This is a shame to the country. Where will this end? Are only these seven people Tamils? Aren't the victims also Tamil?” On May 21, 1991, the explosion set off by an LTTE sucide bomber in Sriperumbudur, not only killed Rajiv Gandhi, but 15 others including the bomber. Forty five people were injured. Of the deceased, three were Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) members.

Anasuya Earnest, a retired police officer, was a sub-inspector when she was injured in the blast. Speaking to Times Now, she said that she suffers from pain due to her injuries even to this day. “If they release these six convicts, then will they also release those convicted in the Coimbatore bomb blasts? Why keep them in jail, when they can just release everyone?” she questioned. S Abbas, a mobile repair shop owner from Chennai was just eight years old when his widowed mother S Samdhani Begum, was killed in the explosion. “We never expected this order. They (the convicts) say they have spent 31 years in jail, but we have also suffered for 31 years. Just because the Governor delayed his decision, he (Perarivalan) has been released. Did they think about others who have been affected by this?” he asked.

K Ramalinga Jothi, TNCC’s general secretary, says that the party intends to conduct demonstrations in various localities in the state on May 19. “We will hold protests at all district headquarters by tying white cloth around our mouths to show our shock, from 10 am to 11 am. There is nothing more for me to add, our leader, KS Azhagiri has already said all that needs to be said.” Earlier today, the TNCC president, KS Azhagiri had issued a statement  saying, “The Supreme Court convicted seven people in connection with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. One among them has been released today citing certain legal points. We do not want to criticise the SC verdict. But at the same time we want to categorically say they are not innocents and they are murderers.”

The reactions come in the wake of the Supreme Court’s verdict on May 18, suspending AG Perarivalan’s life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assasination case by invoking Articles 142 and 162 of the Indian Constitution. One of the seven convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Perarivalan was jailed for procuring nine-volt batteries, which were used in the improvised explosive device (IED) that had killed Rajiv Gandhi. It was later revealed, by former CBI officer Thiagarajan, that Perarivalan had added in his confession that he hadn’t known how the batteries were going to be used. Thiagarajan went on record in 2013 admitting to having omitted this part of Perarivalan’s confession, when he was arrested in 1991. Perarivalan has spent 30 years in jail prior to his release.

Others in the Indian National Congress have also expressed their displeasure. INC’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told PTI that, “Today there is a sorrow and fury not only in every Congress worker over the development, but in every citizen who believes in India and Indianness. A terrorist is a terrorist and should be treated as one. Today, we are deeply pained and disappointed at the decision of the Supreme Court ordering the release of Rajiv Gandhi's assassin.” 


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