The DMK welcomed the Tamil Nadu government's recommendation to the Governor Sunday for release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, but its ally Congress differed, saying it will set a "wrong precedent."
"The Tamil Nadu Governor should immediately implement (the cabinet decision) to bring joy to the people," DMK president M K Stalin told reporters here. Besides DMK, the PMK and AMMK were among those who hailed the move.
Stalin recalled his party's earlier demand that the state cabinet adopt a resolution for release of the convicts in the wake of the Supreme Court asking Governor Banwarilal Purohit to consider the mercy petition of one of them, AG Perarivalan, seeking remission or pardon under Article 161 of the Constitution.
The K Palaniswami-led state cabinet met here Sunday where a decision was taken to recommend to the Governor, the release of V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthanthiraraja alias Santhan, AG Perarivalan alias Arivu, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Nalini, all serving life imprisonment.
However, TNCC President Su Thirunavukkarasar wanted the Governor to toe the Centre's earlier line, where it had opposed Tamil Nadu government's previous proposal for the release of the convicts. "It is true that they have been in prison for a long time. But their release will set a wrong precedent. Law is common for all. If you take decisions based on (factors like) mercy, it will set wrong precedent in the future," he said. PMK founder-leader S Ramadoss welcomed the move, saying the decision was not merely that of the cabinet but reflected that of the state.
He urged the Governor to "implement" the cabinet recommendation without any delay. "The Governor should not make a controversy out of the Cabinet's recommendation and accept it and order for the release of all seven Tamils," he said in a statement. AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran also urged the Governor to approve the state cabinet's decision.
Mother of Perarivalan, Arputhammal, welcomed the government's decision and said there should be no politics over it. She met Palaniswami here and thanked him for the cabinet decision. Later, she told reporters she was "relieved" her son would 'reach' her after a long time.
"This is historic. We were not aware of how the years of struggle would end. He (Perarivalan) was 19 when he went to jail (in 1991)," she said. Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur near here by an LTTE woman suicide bomber, Dhanu, at an election rally. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed.