Rajiv case: Confident TN Guv won’t release convicts, says kin of victim

Chennai: Even as the opposition party in Tamilnadu DMK and relatives of the seven convicts of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case are demanding their immediate release, the relative of a victim and a survivor of the 1991 suicide bomb attack said they are confident Governor Banwarilal Purohit would not release the life convicts.

The Congress in the State said there should be no pressure on the Governor over the issue. Hours after the Supreme Court dismissed their plea objecting to the State government’s 2014 decision recommending release of the seven convicts, they said confidently that justice will be done.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi who headed the bench said that nothing survived in the case as all aspects were covered in the earlier constitution bench verdict.

The petitioner, S Abbas, who is also coordinating the families of victims, said that they were consulting possibility of preferring an appeal and that they would take appropriate steps.

Abbas is the son of Samdhani Begum, a Mahila Congress leader who was among those killed in the attack. Speaking to a media agency he reportedly said that if the convicts were released eyeing vote bank politics it will be tantamount to supporting terrorism.

He said people like him belong to marginalised sections of the society and hail from a very ordinary family. “Despite difficulties, we went to the level of Supreme Court to stop their release, what else can we do…if they are going to be released what can we do..? We pin our hope on God,” he said.

Another survivor, Anusuya Daisy Ernest, a retired police officer, said the judgment saddened her. She a police sub-inspector then and had tried stopping the assassin Dhanu from coming close to the former Prime Minister. Anusuya was seriously injured in the attack. “I believe in God. We are confident the Governor will do justice for the victims, their families, survivors and all those who were affected by the terror attack that fateful day in 1991,” she has been quoted saying.

Meanwhile, Arputhammal, mother of a convict Perarivalan, said she was confident that the governor will release all the convicts and welcomed the judgment.

She had visited Purohit last year and sought the release of convicts. “Governor told me that he will do it (release the convicts)…I have waited for eight months, and now after this judgment there is a conducive ambience for their release,” she said.

Speaking about the issue to reporters in Madurai, deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam the government has already taken all steps for their release. The it has even apprised the Centre over the decision to set them all free.

State Congress Committee chief K S Alagiri said his party did not have any different opinion. Many Tamilians were serving jail term for over 25 years and all of them can be released along with the seven convicts.

He however said that there should be any pressure on either the court or the Governor. The TNCC would welcome the court’s decision if it decides to release them.

“On behalf of the DMK, I urge governor Purohit to immediately accept the Tamilnadu Cabinet resolution recommending release of the seven convicts and issue an order for their release,” said DMK president M K Stalin, welcoming the Supreme court verdict.

He further said, there was no bar for the governor now to decide under Article 161 or give any other reason for not ordering their release.

PMK founder S Ramadoss said the release of convicts should not be delayed any more. “Unofficially, Raj Bhavan had cited this pending case in the Supreme Court against the release of the convicts. That case has now been dismissed and there is no bar for their release now,” Ramadoss said.

NT Bureau