Retired cop alleges death threats for opposing release of convicts in Rajiv Gandhi case

Anusuya was 30 years old when she was deployed as part of the security team at Sriperumbudur where Rajiv Gandhi came for an election meeting in 1991.
Anusuya Ernest, the retired police officer
Anusuya Ernest, the retired police officer

Anusuya Daisy Ernest, one of the police officers who survived the bomb that killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has alleged that she had been getting death threats for opposing the release of six people convicted in the assassination case. Speaking to TNM, Anusuya said that she has been getting these threats ever since Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the case, was released in May 2022. She said, “I would not bother about such calls back then. But this time, it was too much for me to bear.” Recently, the Supreme Court released six other convicts in the case- Nalini, Sridharan alias Murugan, Santhan, Ravikumar, Robert Payas and Jayakumar.

A native of Cuddalore, Anusuya was 30 years old when she was deployed as part of the security team at Sriperumbudur where Rajiv Gandhi came for an election meeting in 1991. She said, “If you see the last picture that was taken before his death, you will be able to see me. I was in my uniform, trying to keep the women from getting too close to the Prime Minister. Due to the blast, I lost two fingers on my left hand and several parts of my body were burnt. But I was able to survive, unlike police officer Chandra who was with me.”

Having retired from the police force in 2019, Anusuya joined the Indian National Congress in 2020. About the death threats she received recently, Anusuya said, “The threats I got this time were horrible. The callers were saying such vile things. One caller assumed my caste identity and referred to me in a derogatory manner using a caste name. They made explicit sexual remarks and threatened to kill me. I could not take it anymore and decided to complain to the police.”

Anusuya added that with the help of K Ramalinga Jothi, the state general secretary of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC), she filed an application with Director General of Police (DGP) Sylendra Babu asking for personal security. She said that her application was being considered and the police were trying to trace who made the call.

However, Anusuya is not too happy with the idea of having personal security as she believes it will curtail her freedom and privacy.“It would be like giving me a prison sentence. I know this is for my safety but why should I be treated like a prisoner when I did not do anything wrong?”she asks.

The retired police officer believes that the convicts should not have been released and her security has been threatened only because of their release. She said, “I am vocal against the release of the convicts because I have suffered because of them. I lost two fingers. Many lost their lives and their families were destroyed. If I am going to get threatened for speaking my mind, what security do I have? Why should I live fearing for my life when they [the convicts] are allowed to reunite with their families and live normal lives?"

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