Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi: Stalin, others welcome Supreme Court judgment

AG Perarivalan, convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, celebrated his Supreme Court verdict by ordering his release by playing the Tamil percussion instrument ‘Parai’ on Wednesday and now wants to breathe the air of freedom before thinking about his future, as the apex court’s verdict has ended. His three decades in prison.

The news that the Supreme Court had allowed him to move freely was received with great joy by his family, relatives and several pro-Tamil organizations in Tamil Nadu.

Political parties – including the ruling DMK and the opposition AIADMK – excluding the Congress and the BJP, have warmly welcomed the ruling, with the Congress protesting the violence on Thursday.

TNCC president KS Alagiri said, “We do not want to criticize the SC verdict, we want to make sure that they (the seven convicts) are not murderers and innocent.” Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi committed suicide. LTTE bombers attack an election rally in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu in 1991. Perarivalan was accused of collecting batteries for the bomb used in Gandhi’s assassination. He was 19 years old when he was arrested.

Initially sentenced to death by a special court in Chennai which was later commuted to life imprisonment, Perarivalan said he was against the death penalty.

“I firmly believe that there is no need for the death penalty. Not just out of pity … Many judges, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, have said so and there are many examples. Everyone is human, “he said, with his mother Arputhammal and relatives beside him.

“I just came out. The legal battle has been going on for 31 years. I need to take a deep breath. Give me some time, ” when reporters ask him how he feels as a “free bird” and what his future plans are.

‘Many strangers have supported us. I don’t know many people. I thank all of them, ”said Arputhammal, an emotional man, while remembering his son’s” 31-year war. “

Perarivalan later played the ‘parai’, an ancient Tamil instrument seen as part of the Tamil pride, as a clear sign of its independence celebrations.

Welcoming the verdict, Chief Minister MK Stalin said it could “have a place in the history of justice-law-politics-administration”.

The outcome of the case reflects the Tamil Nadu government’s efforts to establish the rights of the state as it has made it clear that only the state government can decide on the matter and the governor can support his decision, he said.

Although the AIADMK had recommended seven convicts in the cabinet case in 2018 – Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Pius, Jayachandran and Nalini – to the then Governor Banwarilal Purohit, no decision has been taken on the matter, he said.

Stalin also spoke to Arputhammal on the phone. Perarivalan, his mother and others later met with the chief minister.

Later, while talking to reporters, he said that before the 2021 state assembly elections, the DMK had mentioned in its election manifesto that they would try to get the release of the seven convicts.

Perarivalan has been released on humanitarian grounds and on human rights grounds, which is welcome, he added. “Although delayed, it is a historic verdict,” Stalin said.

Regarding the other six convicts, the government will discuss their release with legal experts after seeing the details of today’s verdict in the case, the chief minister added.

Opposition groups called for the release of the late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa as a result of his “toughness, foresight and legal wisdom.” The team coordinator and Panirselvam and joint coordinator K Palaniswami said in a statement.

“Perarivalan gives joy, satisfaction and relief to AIADMK released by the Supreme Court after 30 years in jail,” they added.

They recalled his statement in the state assembly in February 2014 that the state government would release Perarivalan and others as per the decision of the cabinet if the Center did not take immediate action in this regard.

“The cabinet decision taken by AIADM during its rule is the basis of today’s decision of the Supreme Court. This is a complete victory for AIADMK, “the two leaders said, urging the state government to take immediate steps to release the remaining culprits.

Later, Perarivalan and his mother met Palaniswami.

TNCC chief Alagiri said Perarivalan had been released on legal grounds. “We do not want to criticize the Supreme Court verdict. At the same time, we want to emphasize that the perpetrators are not murderers and innocent people, “he said in a statement.

Reacting to the arguments of certain quarters about the Tamil sentiments behind the support of the convicts, he said that many Tamils ​​have been imprisoned for more than 20 years and asked why no voice was raised for their release.

He called on Congress supporters on Thursday to cover their faces with white cloth and carry placards saying, “Let us oppose violence; Murder is not the answer to differences. “

BJP state president K Annamalai said the party had “accepted” the Supreme Court’s verdict, adding that the SC had given relief to Perarivalan on the basis of its extraordinary powers under section 142. Our unity, security and integrity, “he said in a tweet.

CPI general secretary D Raja said his party welcomed the verdict and pointed to Perarivalan’s long imprisonment. He called on the governor to act in accordance with the constitution and said that the decision had raised questions about the governor’s office.

Political leaders, including MDMK founder Vaiko and PMK leader S Ramadoss, welcomed his release.

Soon after the Supreme Court’s decision to release Perarivalan, relatives began flocking to his residence. He offered sweets to Arputhammal.

Her sister and her family, who were in a hurry to meet and greet Perarivalan, were moved and overjoyed at her release. They hugged him and expressed their happiness.

Perarivalan’s father, Quildasan, is delighted with the end of his son’s three-decade imprisonment.

When asked by reporters about Perarivalan’s future plans, including marriage, Quildasan said such issues would be discussed by the family.

Perarivalan, currently on bail, had been granted parole several times before by the state government.

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