TN Congress Committee opposes release of Rajiv Gandhi assassination convicts

The state government’s recommendation to remit the life sentences for the convicts has been pending with the Governor of Tamil Nadu since 2018.
KS Alagiri TNCC
KS Alagiri TNCC
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The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) has opposed political parties’ demand to release the seven persons convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. TNCC Chief KS Alagiri said that it is not proper to call the convicts ‘Tamils’. KS Alagiri’s statement is significant since it comes days after MK Stalin, Chief of the DMK which is in electoral alliance with the TNCC, urged the Governor to expedite the remission of life sentences of the seven persons.

In a statement released on Saturday, Alagiri said that the decision whether to release the seven convicts — AG Perarivalan, Nalini Sriharan, Sriharan (Murugan), Santhan, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Jayakumar — must be taken by the court. He said that if these seven persons are released, then it would lead to demands that all murder convicts who have spent over 25 years in prison must be released.

“We will accept if the court orders the release of the seven convicts. But it is not acceptable that political parties are demanding their release. Those who have committed murder must be seen as murderers. Calling them ‘Tamils’ is not right,” the statement said. Alagiri further said that if an organisation or movement demands the release of murder convicts, it would be equal to a demand for doing away with police stations, courts, law and order. “Hence, it is not Tamil culture to support those who had assassinated our former Prime Minister and caused harm to India,” the statement added.

Alagiri’s statement comes days after DMK Chief MK Stalin wrote to the Governor of Tamil Nadu to expedite the release of the convicts. Stalin, on November 5, had written to Banwarilal Purohit, the Governor of Tamil Nadu, pointing out that the seven persons had already served over three decades in prison. He referred to the most recent observation by the Supreme Court of India which expressed displeasure over the delay in signing off on the state government’s recommendation to remit the life sentences of the convicts.

The government of Tamil Nadu had, in 2018, recommended the remission of the life sentences and had forwarded that to the Governor. However, the Governor is yet to make a decision. "The fact that the recommendation of the State Cabinet has been kept pending for over 2 years by Your office reflects poorly on the State and gives the impression that the State is not run in accordance with law,” the letter said, adding that the Governor kindly accept the state’s recommendation and immediately release the seven persons.

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