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Saddened that Rajiv Gandhi's killers are being set free: Rahul

PTI Amethi/Chennai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on February 19, 2014

“If some person kills the PM and is released then how will a common man will get justice. It’s a point to ponder,” says Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi today said he was sad over the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to set free all the seven people convicted in the assassination of his father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The Congress Vice President, who was 21 when Rajiv was killed by a suicide bomber at an election rally in Sriperumbedur, near Chennai, on May 21, 1991, at the same time said he was not in favour of death penalty.

“I am sad the killers are being released,” Rahul said with a tinge of emotion, while noting that the assassins of his father, who worked for the rights of the people, were being set free.

Rahul also said that if a Prime Minister, who sacrificed his life for the nation, does not get justice how will a common man get justice.

“If some person kills the PM and is released then how will a common man will get justice. It’s a point to ponder,” he said while addressing a gathering at Purab village here in Jagdishpur.

“In this country even the PM does not get justice. This is my heart’s voice,” he said.

Rahul said he does not believe in capital punishment as it won’t bring his father back.

“I don’t believe in capital punishment as it won’t bring my father back. But it is not just a matter of my father or the family, it is the matter of the country,” he added.

The Tamil Nadu Government today decided to set free within three days all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case after the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of three assassins.

Besides Santhan, Murugan, the husband of Nalini, Perarivalan, who earned a major reprieve from the apex court yesterday which spared them from gallows, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran would walk out from prison.

The Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who took the decision for early release of the Rajiv killers at an emergency Cabinet meeting convened this morning over the issue, made a suo motu announcement in the state Assembly.

Victims’ families mull action to ‘halt’ release

Sulking over the government decision to set free seven convicts, the family members of victims who were killed along with Rajiv Gandhi in the suicide bomb attack are “exploring avenues” to “halt” their release.

“They say the convicts are Tamils. Are not we, the families of victims and the victims, Tamils?” ‘League’ M Mohan son of ‘League’ Munusamy, a Congress functionary who was killed alongside Rajiv Gandhi said, adding that this would set a dangerous precedent.

“We the families of victims are in touch. We are seeing if something could be done to halt the release,” he told PTI.

Javed Iqbal, who lost his father when he was 18 years old in 1991 wanted to know “how the ends of justice would be met” if they do nndergo punishment. His father, TKS Mohammed Iqbal, had, in his capacity as Kancheepuram District Superintendent of Police, escorted Rajiv Gandhi to Sriperumbudur.

Javed recalls how he could not pursue higher studies after the death of his father. “Life became painful without him. I and my family struggled a lot without the love and support of my father,” he told PTI.

Wondering why for the past 23 years no one bothered to visit the families of victims and see if the they were “alive or dead”, he questioned the intention of rights activists in regularly calling on Nalini and other convicts alone.

Stating that he could not understand the “logic of our country’s laws”, Javed recounted how Santhan and others were initially convicted and sentenced to death.

“Death sentence was later confirmed by the top court and the executive. Yesterday, the apex court said life imprisonment was enough and today the state government wants to set them free. I don’t understand,” he said.

He also rued that the efforts of the victims’families in organising protest demonstrations a few years ago seeking implementation of death penalty had gone in vain.

“We [victims’families] are now contemplating if there are any possibilities [legally or through government] to stop their release,” Javed said.

“No one seems to be bothered about Rajiv Gandhi, the slain tallest leader of India, and those who were killed along with him and their families in 1991,” said Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president B S Gnanadesikan.

Published on February 19, 2014
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