Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Monday reiterated his government’s commitment to release the seven convicts involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He hopes that Governor Banwarilal Purohit will act on the recommendation of his cabinet for setting them free.
Palaniswami’s statement comes at a time when calls have intensified, both from the opposition and Tamil groups, for the release of the seven, after the Supreme Court recently disposed of a plea of the kin of those killed along with the former Prime Minister in 1991 opposing their release. All seven are serving a life sentence.
The decision by Tamil Nadu government in 2014 to release the seven convicts, was challenged by the kin. The state cabinet had adopted a resolution recommending Governor Purohit to release them in September 2018.
Speaking to reporters Palaniswami said the cabinet resolution that was passed, reflected the popular public sentiment on the issue. “We wanted the seven to be released and that is why adopted a cabinet resolution and sent it to the Governor. The Governor has to decide (on the matter),” he said.
“We took the decision based on public sentiment, adopted a cabinet resolution and sent it to Governor. We hope he will take action,” he added.
The AIADMK government, on September 9, 2018, recommended Governor Purohit to release all seven people, Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Ravichandran, Robert Payas, and Nalini, convicted for the assassination of Gandhi.
In June 2018, President Ramnath Kovind had rejected Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to release the seven convicts serving sentences for Gandhi’s assassination. According to a report in The Hindu, the President had conveyed to the state government that Centre does not agree with their views on the matter.
The state government had previously written to the Centre twice for the release of the seven convicts ‘on humanitarian grounds’ for, which the Centre had objected.
Gandhi was assassinated in a suicide bombing attack during his interaction with the public in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.