Perarivalan’s Parents on Cloud Nine; Stalin and others hail SC verdict – Eastern Mirror
Jolarpettai (TN), May 18 (PTI): Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict AG Perarivalan on Wednesday celebrated the Supreme Court verdict ordering his release by playing the Tamil percussion instrument ‘Parai’ and now wants to breathe the air of freedom before thinking about his future, as the supreme court decision ended his three-decade prison sentence.
The news of the Supreme Court allowing him to walk free was greeted with great jubilation by his family, relatives and several pro-Tamil groups in Tamil Nadu.
Political parties – including the ruling DMK and the opposition AIADMK, except Congress and BJP – warmly welcomed the verdict, with Congress announcing a protest against the violence on Thursday.
TNCC Chairman KS Alagiri said “we don’t want to criticize” the SC judgment, but we want to affirm that they (the seven convicted) are murderers and not innocents”.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed by an LTTE suicide bomber during an election rally in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in 1991. Perarivalan was accused of buying batteries for the bomb used in Gandhi’s assassination. He was 19 when he was arrested.
Initially sentenced to death by a special court in Chennai, which was later commuted to life in prison, Perarivalan said he was against the death penalty.
“I strongly believe that capital punishment is not necessary. Not just out of pity…many justices, including Supreme Court Chief Justices, have said so and there are many examples. Everyone is human he said, with his mother Arputhammal and loved ones by his side.
” I just got out. It has been 31 years of legal battle. I have to take a breather. Give me time,” he said when asked by reporters how he felt as a “free bird” and what his future plans were.
“A lot of strangers supported us. I don’t know many people. I thank them all,” said an emotional Arputhammal while recalling the “31-year battle” her son endured.
Perarivalan then played the ‘Parai’, an ancient percussion instrument considered part of Tamil pride, in a clear sign of celebration of his freedom.
Welcoming the judgment, Chief Minister MK Stalin said it could find a place in “the history of justice, law, politics and administration”.
He recalled that the state made a strong case in court regarding Perarivalan’s plea to the SC.
The outcome of the case reflects the efforts of the Tamil Nadu government to establish the rights of the state, as it made it clear that only the state government can decide the matter and the governor can approve its decision, did he declare.
While the AIADMK firm in 2018 recommended the release of seven convicts in the case – Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Jayachandran and Nalini – to then-Governor Banwarilal Purohit, no decision was made. about it, he said.
Stalin also spoke to Arputhammal on the phone. Perarivalan, his mother and others then met with the chief minister.
Later, speaking to reporters, he said the DMK had in its election manifesto ahead of the 2021 State Assembly polls mentioned that it would work to secure the release of the seven convicted.
Perarivalan was released on humanitarian and human rights grounds, which was welcome, he added. “Although delayed, it is a historic verdict,” Stalin said.
Regarding the other six convicts, the government will hold discussions with legal experts on their release after reviewing the details of the judgment in today’s case, the chief minister added.
The opposition AIADMK said Perarivalan’s release was the result of the “courage, foresight and legal acumen” of the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Efforts by her to secure the release of Perarivalan and six others, and legal nuances advanced by her were not uncommon, party coordinator O Panneerselvam and coordinator K Palaniswami said in a statement.
“The release of Perarivalan by the Supreme Court after 30 years in prison brings joy, satisfaction and relief to the AIADMK,” they added.
They recalled his statement to the state assembly in February 2014 that if the Center did not act quickly on the matter, the state government would release Perarivalan and the others in accordance with a cabinet decision.
“The cabinet decision made under the AIADMK regime is the basis for today’s Supreme Court decision. This is completely a victory for AIADMK,” the two leaders said, and urged the state government to take action for the immediate release of the rest of the convicts.
TNCC chief Alagiri said Perarivalan was only released on legal nuances. “We don’t want to criticize the verdict of the Supreme Court. At the same time, we want to emphasize that the culprits are murderers and not innocents,” he said in a party statement.
Returning to arguments in some quarters about Tamil sentiments behind support for convicts, he said many Tamils have been languishing in prison for over 20 years and asked why no voices were also raised for their release.
He urged congressional supporters to stage a protest on Thursday by covering their mouths with a white cloth and carrying signs saying “Let’s oppose violence; murder is not a response to a difference of opinion. The hour-long protest is expected to take place in key locations from 10 a.m.
BJP state chairman K Annamalai said the party “accepts” the supreme court’s verdict, saying the relief granted to Perarivalan was granted by the SC on the basis of its extraordinary power under the 142. “We also believe that the Supreme Court will not allow our unity, security and integrity to be compromised,” he said in a tweet.
CPI General Secretary Dr Raja said his party welcomed the verdict and highlighted Perarivalan’s long incarceration. He also wanted the governor to act in accordance with the Constitution and said the verdict raised many questions about the governorship.
Political leaders including MDMK founder Vaiko and PMK leader S Ramadoss hailed his release.
Right after the judgment was delivered by the Supreme Court releasing Perarivalan, relatives started arriving at his residence here. He offered sweets to Arputhammal.
His sister and family who rushed to meet and greet Perarivalan were moved and expressed great joy at his release. They hugged him and expressed their happiness.
Perarivalan’s father, Kuildasan, said he was very happy with the end of his son’s three decades of incarceration.
When reporters asked about Perarivalan’s future plans, including marriage, Kuildasan said those issues would be discussed by the family.
Perarivalan, currently out on bail, had been granted parole numerous times before by the state government.