Nalini Sriharan, the lone surviving convict in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, on Saturday appealed to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami for an early release of all the seven life convicts, including her, in the case.
Sriharan is currently on a hunger strike in the Vellore prison in the state. The convicts have been serving sentence in the prison for more than 27 years.
In a letter to the CM, Sriharan wrote asking him to use the current political opportunity to release them as this is their only last hope to live their life.
“Because of recent political development, we have become more confident that the Chief Minister will take every effort to convince the Governor of Tamil Nadu (Banwarilal Purohit) about the desirability of our early release from prison. This is our last hope and our life is absolutely in the hands of the Chief Minister,” Sriharan wrote in the letter.
The state Cabinet on September 9, 2018, recommended the Governor of Tamil Nadu to release the seven convicts by exercising Article 161 of the Constitution. However, the Governor has not made any decision on the recommendation of the state Cabinet so far. Nalini is on hunger strike seeking a decision by the Governor soon.
"As per the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the Council of Ministers of your Cabinet had on 9.9.2018 advised the Hon'ble Governor of Tamil Nadu to release me and other six life convicts in the exercise of his power under Article 161 of the Constitution. It is more than five months since your Cabinet rendered its advice in accordance with law. As you are aware, once your Cabinet takes a decision to release us from prison your decision is binding on the Hon'ble Governor of Tamil Nadu," read the letter further.
"I am perhaps the longest-serving woman prisoner in India. All of us have served more than 27 years in prison as life convicts. We have been excepting the order of your Government every day. But we are disappointed every day after knowing that the Hon'ble Governor of Tamil Nadu is yet to sign the necessary proceedings," added the letter.
In May 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber during an election rally at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. The attack left 14 others killed whose relatives have been opposing the release of convicts.