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Tamil Nadu govt committed to release Rajiv Gandhi assassination convicts, says Jayakumar

The Tamil Nadu government is committed to the release of seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and said the further course of action will be taken after studying the Supreme Court verdict, said senior AIADMK leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar.

Reacting to the Supreme Court direction to Tamil Nadu Governor on Thursday to consider the mercy petition of AG Perarivalan as per the law, Jayakumar said the state government is committed to their release. He also recalled the steps taken by late leader J Jayalalithaa in this regard.

Stating that the state government was committed for their release, he said, “We will look into the directions passed by the Supreme Court and take a decision”. Meanwhile, Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam too expressed similar views and said a decision would be taken after discussions with the Chief Minister.

During late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s tenure, a resolution was passed in the state legislative Assembly seeking the release of the convicts. In the last four years, the Tamil Nadu government has written twice to the Home Ministry to pardon the convicts and release them on humanitarian grounds but it has been rejected.

Besides Perarivalan, six other convicts, V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini are undergoing life sentence and have spent around 28 years in prison.

Perarivalan’s mother, Arputhammal, who has been fighting for her son’s release, welcomed the apex court’s direction. She said that she will meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy on Friday, urging him to release her son.

Leaders of various political parties in Tamil Nadu, including the main Opposition DMK, PMK, Left parties and MDMK, on Thursday hailed the Supreme Court order stating the state government has powers to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Welcoming the court’s verdict, DMK President MK Stalin said the state government should take immediate steps for their release. Expressing happiness over the court’s verdict, he said the state government should immediately convene the Cabinet meeting, adopt a resolution and recommend it to the Governor for their release.

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