On Friday, India’s Supreme Court released six convicted persons in the death of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Gandhi was 46 when assassinated. In 1991 during an electoral rally in the southern state of Tamil Nadu by a female suicide bomber. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), an armed separatist group from Sri Lanka, committed the murder.
The convicts were freed, because of their “satisfactory conduct” inside the prison. And the fact that they had already served more than three decades of their sentences. The six, three previously sentenced to death. The only ones still being held responsible for the assassination; however, two of them were already on parole.
One of the two people on parole, Nalini Sriharan, said she was thankful. She continued, “The past 32 years have been a hardship. She was first sentenced to death together with her husband, another of the prisoners the court ordered released.
AG Perarivalan, another prisoner sentenced to death released on good behavior. After Indira Gandhi, his mother, and predecessor killed by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984. Gandhi became India’s youngest prime minister.
Rajiv’s widow Sonia continues to be the organization’s most powerful person, their son Rahul is regarded as main political contender. The family’s Congress party has long dominated Indian politics. The shooting of Rajiv Gandhi was the result of sending Indian military to Sri Lanka in 1987 to disarm the Tamil rebels. After losing almost 1,000 of its soldiers in battles with the insurgents, India eventually withdrew its troops.
In India, there has been much discussion around the release of the criminals. And Congress has denounced the court’s judgment as “absolutely reprehensible” and “entirely erroneous.”
However, India has a sizable Tamil population. The state governments of Tamil Nadu have repeatedly demanded the release of prisoners. MK Stalin, the current chief minister of Tamil Nadu, tweeted an image of him hugging Perarivalan in Chennai after court’s decision. Gandhi’s son has in the past mentioned how he and his sister Priyanka had pardoned their father’s killers.