The Congress on Monday registered its strong opposition to the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to recommend the remission of sentence of all seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
A senior Home Ministry official, however, said the Ministry is yet to receive any communication from Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on the remission of sentence.
“There can be no compromise on terrorism and terrorists. What happened in Sriperumbudur was the assassination of former Prime Minister of India Shri Rajiv Gandhi and dozens of others, including police personnel, security detail and innocent civilians who were all blown [up] by a concerted international conspiracy by terrorists who are in jail today,” Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala said.
“Is it not true that BJP’s ally AIADMK and the BJP-appointed Governor are proceeding to recommend release of assassins and terrorists? Is that the policy of the State now? Are we going to release assassins of the former PM and innocent civilians and policemen accused of terrorism,” Surjewala asked.
Asked to comment about the earlier statements of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, about forgiveness, the Congress leader said, “Bereft of who says what, I as a citizen and as a Congressman, we are of a clear opinion that the State cannot [be] derelict [in] its duty of punishing terrorists and terrorism.”
The Tamil Nadu Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, on Sunday evening recommended to the Governor that all the convicts be released under Article 161 of the Constitution.
The decision followed the Supreme Court’s observation last week that the Governor shall be at liberty to decide on the remission application of one of the convicts, Perarivalan, “as deemed fit”.
The convicts — Nalini, T. Suthendraraja, alias Santhan, Sriharan, alias Murugan (Nalini’s husband), A.G. Perarivalan, alias Arivu, Robert Payas, S. Jayakumar, alias Jayakumaran, and Ravichandran, alias Ravi — have been in jail for over 27 years. Santhan, Murugan, Payas and Jayakumar are Sri Lankan Tamils.
Earlier, the Union Home Ministry while rejecting the request of the Tamil Nadu government had said, “Murder of a former Prime Minister, for what he did for the country was an act of exceptional depravity on the part of the accused....”