Centre “Playing Politics” Over Releasing Rajiv Gandhi Assassins: Congress

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991.

New Delhi: 

The Congress Monday accused the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government of “playing politics” over a cabinet recommendation to release all seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, adding that the State cannot derelict its duty in punishing terrorists.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said there should be no compromise on terrorism and terrorists and it was time to show the mirror to the PM Modi and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) governments who were adopting a “soft approach” towards them (terrorists).

“Bereft of who says what, as a citizen and a Congressman, we are of a clear opinion that the State cannot derelict its duty of punishing terrorists and terrorism.

“Those who swear by pseudo nationalism day in and day out are today doing politics over assassins of Rajiv Gandhi Ji and dozens of others who were killed by these terrorists, who have been punished by the Supreme Court, and never been granted any pardon,” he said.

“It is time to show the mirror of truth to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Government who are shielding terrorism and terrorists by such acts,” Mr Surjewala said. 

“We ask a simple question, bereft of what th large-hearted (then) Congress President Sonia Gandhi or the current Congress President Rahul Gandhi or his sister Priyanka Gandhi have said viz-a-viz having no enmity towards the assassins of Rajiv Ji. Does the State have a duty to protect terrorists or to find terrorists?

“Is it not true that BJP’s ally AIADMK and BJP-appointed Governor are proceeding to recommend, reprieve, remission and release of assassins and terrorists? Is that the policy of the State now? Are we going to release assassins of the former PM and innocent civilians and policemen accused of terrorism?,” the Congress leader said.

The AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu Sunday recommended to Governor Banwarilal Purohit the release of all seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, a move hailed by most political parties in the state barring the Congress.

A resolution to this effect was adopted by the state cabinet which met under Chief Minister K Palaniswami’s leadership.

The cabinet decided to release the convicts V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthanthiraraja alias Santhan, A G Perarivalan alias Arivu, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Nalini, under Article 161 of the Constitution, which relates to the power of the Governor to grant pardons and to suspend, remit and commute sentences in certain cases.

The seven are serving life sentence for their role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi by an Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumpudur.

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