The AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government has decided to recommend the release of seven persons convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. According to a note released by Tamil Nadu minister D Jayakumar, the state government will send the recommendation to Governor Banwarilal Purohit immediately.
The move by Tamil Nadu government came after the Supreme Court asked Governor Purohit to decide on the mercy petition of AG Perarivalan. The AIADMK government, however, will seek the early release of all seven convicts, citing their petition regarding this.
The seven convicts - Perarivalan, Murugan, Santham, Nalini Sriharan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran – are currently serving a life sentence. They have been in jail for the last 27 years.
The former prime minister was assassinated by LTTE bomber Dhanu in 1991. The subsequent conviction of the seven accused has been a contentious issue in Tamil Nadu with a large section of people in the state believe that they were not fully aware of the plot.
In August, the Centre had strongly opposed the release of the convicts in the Supreme Court, saying that it would "set a very dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications by other such criminals in the future".
However, Rajiv Gandhi’s son and Congress president Rahul Gandhi had recently said that he and his sister Priyanka Gandhi have "completely forgiven" the assassins of his father.