Rajiv Gandhi Killer Perarivalan Gives Statement After Release Verdict; Meets MK Stalin

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Chennai: AG Perarivalan — one of the seven convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case whose release was ordered by the Supreme Court today — and his mother Arputhammal met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin in Chennai this evening.

Mr Stalin tweeted a video of the meeting. A rough translation of the caption in Tamil reads, “I met brother Perarivalan, who has returned after over 30 years in prison. I asked Brother Perarivalan and Arputhammal to set up a home life for themselves and live happily”.

The release of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers is one of the key common grounds between the DMK and its political rival AIADMK in view of the sensitivities on the subject in the southern state.

“I firmly believe there is no need for capital punishment,” AG Perarivalan said hours after the Supreme Court ordered for his release, a judgement that was received with great jubilation by his family, relatives and several pro-Tamil outfits in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

Initially handed capital punishment by a special court in Chennai which was later commuted to life term, Perarivalan said he first wants to “breathe,” apparently the air of freedom, before thinking about his future.

“I have just come out. It has been 31 years of legal battle. I have to breathe a bit. Give me some time,” he said when reporters asked how did he feel as a “free bird” and what were his future plans.

The Congress has expressed its “sorrow and fury”.

Calling it a “sad day for the country”, party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Today, we are deeply pained and disappointed at the decision of the Supreme Court… There is a sorrow and fury not only in every Congress worker, but in every Indian who believes in India and Indianness, who believes in fighting against extremism and every force that challenges the sovereignty and integrity of India”.

The top court has also taken into account Perarivalan’s exemplary conduct in jail including his acquisition of degrees.

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