The AIADMK government of Tamil Nadu has recommended the release of all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to the state governor Banwarilal Purohit.
D Jayakumar, Tamil Nadu minister, told reporters on Sunday, “Tamil Nadu cabinet recommends release of seven convicts of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The recommendation will be sent to the TN governor immediately.”
A report by PTI said that a resolution to this effect was adopted at the state cabinet which met in Chennai under Chief Minister K Palaniswami’s leadership.
The seven convicts, whose release has been recommended are Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Ravichandran, Robert Payas and Nalini. All seven are currently serving life imprisonment.
Sunday’s extraordinary development came just days after the Supreme Court asked the Tamil Nadu Governor to consider the mercy petition of Perarivalan seeking remission or pardon under Article 161 of the Constitution and disposed of the Centre’s petition opposing Tamil Nadu government’s earlier proposal for the release of the convicts.
But, even though the Supreme Court had asked the Governor to consider the plea of only Perarivalan, the state government decided to recommend the release of all seven convicts.
Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on 21 May, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by an LTTE woman suicide bomber, Dhanu, at an election rally. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed. The Sri Lankan military crushed the Tamil Tigers in 2009.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi had recently shared what it was like hearing about the killing of the LTTE chief Prabhakaran in 2009. Speaking at Germany’s Bucerius Summer School, Rahul Gandhi had said that the news did not make him and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra happy as they felt that “the violence inflicted upon him had impacted others, including his children.”