Murderers of Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi released by court order | News

Murderers of Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi released by court order |  News
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The convicts are released on the grounds of ‘satisfactory behavior’ in prison and 30 years of service behind bars.

The last co-conspirators jailed for the 1991 murder of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi were released from prison a day later by order of the country’s Supreme Court.

Gandhi, 46, was killed by a female suicide bomber at an election rally in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu organized by the Tamil Eelam Liberation Tigers (LTTE), a Sri Lankan armed separatist group.

apex court of india allowed to be released of six convicts, citing their “satisfactory behavior” in prison and serving more than 30 years behind bars.

Three of the six people – Nalini Sriharan, her husband Murugan and Santhan – were released from two prisons in Vellore on Saturday, about 140 km (87 mi) from the regional capital Chennai, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

“New life with my husband and daughter. I thank the Tamils ​​for supporting me for more than 30 years. I thank both the state and central governments,” Sriharan told NDTV after his release.

Local media said others – Robert Pais, Jaikumar and Ravichandran – had been released from prisons in Chennai and Madurai in the same state.

Three of the six convicts released on Saturday were sentenced to death before their sentences were reduced.

Gandhi became India’s youngest prime minister after his mother and predecessor Indira Gandhi was killed by his bodyguards in 1984.

radjiv gandhi-file pic
Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi delivers a speech on May 16, 1991. [File: AFP]

The Gandhi dynasty has been at the head of the Congress Party, which has dominated Indian politics for decades, and Rajiv’s widow Sonia remains the organization’s most powerful figure, while their 52-year-old son Rahul is seen as the main rival of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

party last month 80-year-old former minister Mallikarjun Kharge elected as the first non-Gandhi president in 24 years to reverse the electoral decline.

Rajiv’s killing was seen as a response to a 1987 move to send Indian forces to Sri Lanka to disarm Tamil rebels. India lost more than 1,000 men to the well-established rebels before withdrawing its troops.

The Congress Party denounced the court’s decision as “totally unacceptable” and “completely erroneous”.

“It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court has not acted in line with the spirit of India on this matter,” tweeting a statement from senior member Jairam Ramesh, the party said.

India has a significant Tamil population of its own, and state governments in Tamil Nadu have repeatedly called for the release of convicts.

Earlier this year, the court released AG Perarivalan, another convict involved in the assassination who had previously faced execution, along with State Prime Minister MK Stalin, who after his release was a key Congress ally of the state.

Over the years, Gandhi’s son talked about how he and his sister Priyanka had forgiven their father’s murderers.

“We were very upset and hurt and very angry for many years. But they have since forgiven them,” Rahul said in 2018, “actually, completely”, as quoted by the Indian Express.

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