Ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah's visit to Chennai today, Twitter is flooded with hashtags demanding the release of A.G Perarivalan, one of the alleged convicts of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination case. #ReleasePerarivalan is trending on Twitter and other social media platforms after politicians, actors, writers and activists started tweeting demanding his release.
A.G Perarivalan is one of the convicts of the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case which occurred on 21st May 1991. He was arrested on 11th June the same year at Periyar Thidal in Chennai by CBI officers. Perarivalan is charged for providing a 9-volt battery for the explosive device to key assassination conspirator Sivarasan. Death penalty granted to him was later changed to life imprisonment on a Supreme Court verdict of 18th February 2014.
Writer cum activist Meena Kandasamy tweeted, "Tamil epic heroine Kannagi fought the state against wrongful execution of her husband. Today's heroine of epic proportions is Arputham Ammal, who at 72, has spent 29 years demanding #ReleasePerarivalan, freedom for her wrongfully imprisoned son. Support her fight. @CMOTamilNadu."
Actor Vijay Setupathy, in a video, requested Tamil Nadu governor to release Perarivalan and other convicts as per the Supreme Court order. He recollected the three decades of struggle of Arputham Ammal for her son.
Advocate S S Balaji, Deputy General Secretary of VCK said, "Two years back Supreme Court had delivered it doesn't have any objection in the release of convicts. Accordingly, the Tamil Nadu government passed legislation in the assembly and sent it to Governor's accord. The governor withheld the file demanding the release of seven alleged convicts. He is not giving consent for release nor sending it back. Even the Madras High Court has expressed dissent in this particular attitude of Tamil Nadu Governor."
Perarivalan alias Arivu wrote to Governor Banwarilal Purohit on January 25th to remind him about the state Cabinet's decision granting him remission, which is allegedly pending with Raj Bhavan for over 16 months without response. Arivu, lodged in Chennai's Puzhal Central Prison, wrote the letter days after the Supreme Court rebuked the CBI for failing to make progress in the investigation of the larger conspiracy that happened 29 years ago.
"Madras High Court said that the constitutional authority is vested with certain powers that they would exercise in the right manner. The governor is keeping the file of 7 convicts for 2 years. This is alarming and shocking. Being the part of constitutional authority, he should have some responsibility. When the Courts are willing to release the convicts, then what is preventing the governor to release prisoners?" he questioned.
"Perarivalan is being charged with a falsely claimed case and later on the investigation, an officer had told he has been implicated in the case and truly has nothing to do with the assassination case. An innocent person has been captivated for several years is against humanitarian consideration and they should release all the convicts," he further added.
Netizens claim that there is no concrete evidence against him and urged Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to incorporate the article 161 and save the sovereignty of Tamils. Justice Nageshwara Rao said, "If Tamil Nadu governor does not sign for #ReleasePerarivalan, then the court can release him by its ability under article 142."
"JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED. If we had post-conviction exoneration laws, Perarivalan would have been absolved legally after this officer's interview. Sadly, we still rely on the existing laws for his release. #ReleasePerarivalan," tweeted Prakash Raj.