Don't release Rajiv killers till plea in SC is disposed of: Victims' kin urge TN governor

The attack on May 21, 1991, killed the former prime minister and 15 people.

Don't release Rajiv killers till plea in SC is disposed of: Victims' kin urge TN governor

Chennai: Families of some of those killed along with Rajiv Gandhi Wednesday urged Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit Wednesday to put on hold sanction for release of seven convicts till disposal of their plea in the Supreme Court against the state cabinet's recommendation.

The attack on May 21, 1991, killed the former prime minister and 15 people, including LTTE suicide bomber Dhanu, at nearby Sriperumbudur.

Families of four victims and two survivors called on Purohit at the Raj Bhavan, where he met them individually.

"We requested the Governor not to take any decision on the release of convicts till our petition in the Supreme Court in this connection is disposed of," S Abbas said.

Son of Mahila Congress functionary S Samdhani Begum, who was among those killed, Abbas said the Governor "assured" the delegation that he would act in deference to their request.

Abbas said his childhood had been a painful one as he lost his mother when he was barely eight years old and life became a battle for him since his father predeceased her.

"I had to drop out of school when I was in class 10. I am running a shop for my survival...Making ends meet is a challenge."

"The fact that their death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment (for four, including Nalini and later her husband Sriharan) itself is a humanitarian gesture," he told PTI.

In their petition to the Governor, the kin of 11 victims requested the Governor to send a committee to study the sufferings of these 14 innocent victim families.

"Can we get back our dear ones who died on May 21, 1991? We sincerely feel that terrorism should not be condoned."

The families pointed out that they filed a review petition in the Supreme Court in 2014 and that the top court had on September 17 had given them three weeks time to submit their plea, opposing the release of the convicts.

On Sept 9, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet had recommended to the Governor that all seven Rajiv case convicts be released.

Meanwhile, pro-Tamil outfit Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi staged a protest demonstration here, urging the Governor to release the convicts in deference to the Cabinet decision.

The outfit wanted the Tamil Nadu government to mount pressure on the Governor "to take a positive decision to release the convicts and not wait." 

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