India / Rajiv assassination convict seeks mercy killing after spending 28 yrs in jail

Hindustan Times : Dec 01, 2019, 10:07 AM
Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case has demanded mercy killing along with her husband Murugan alias Sriharan, who is also a convict in the case.

Pugazhendhi Pandian, Nalini’s advocate on Saturday said that Nalini had sent a letter demanding mercy killing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Madras High Court Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and the TN Home Secretary’s office.

“When I met Nalini on Saturday morning in Vellore Women’s Special Prison, she said that the prison officials are ill-treating her. She has been observing a hunger strike against the prison officials since last week. Nalini’s husband Murugan is also observing a hunger strike since last week as he was isolated in a small cell in the Vellore Central Prison,” Pugazhendhi told the media.

He added that extreme stress had driven Nalini to seek mercy killing.

“Nalini and Murugan have been often indulging in a hunger strike. But, this time, they were firm in their demand. They want to be either released from the case or to be shifted to prisons located in other states,” Pandian said.

Nalini’s mother Padma also concurred with Pandian that her daughter is reeling under severe mental pressure.

“After completing 25 years in prison, my daughter is in a state of extreme stress. I have heard that the prison staff is not treating my daughter well. She wants to be shifted from the Vellore Prison. So, she is demanding mercy killing,” Padma told the media.

Attempts to reach out to the Prison Department officials have not been successful.

Nalini was out on parole this year on July 25 in order to make wedding arrangements for her UK-based daughter S Harithra. The MHC further extended her parole by another three weeks on August 22, three days before her parole got over.

While Nalini’s ordinary leave was about to end on September 15, her counsel moved a petition before the MHC submitting that the petitioner needed one more month of parole for making the wedding arrangements of her daughter. However, the MHC bench dismissed Nalini’s petition.

Nalini’s counsel argued that his client’s mother-in-law has to come from Sri Lanka for making the wedding arrangements since her father-in-law was affected with cancer.

Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, by a woman LTTE suicide bomber during an election rally at Sriperumbudur near Chennai. Besides Nalini and Murugan, others convicted for life in the case are Suthenthira Raja alias Santhan, AG Perarivalan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran. Four of the convicts - Sriharan, Santhan, Robert Payas and Jayakumar - are Sri Lankan nationals.

The state government’s resolution requesting the release of these seven convicts under article 161 of the Constitution is pending with Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit.