HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

'If a PM's killers can be freed, what justice can common man expect?’

Umesh Raghuvanshi, Hindustan Times  Amethi, February 19, 2014
First Published: 18:03 IST(19/2/2014) | Last Updated: 02:15 IST(20/2/2014)

Breaking silence for the first time regarding the fate of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins on Wednesday, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said the Tamil Nadu government’s decision has saddened him.

“I am personally against the death penalty but this is not about my father,” Gandhi said at a roadside meeting in Amethi hours after TN chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s decision to free the seven prisoners. The Rajiv files

“If a Prime Minister’s killers can be released, what kind of justice can the common man expect? This is a question that needs to be looked into. My fight is for justice for the poor.”

Striking an emotional chord at the family home turf, he said, “Rajiv Gandhi worked here. He laid down his life for the country. Whatever decision has been taken about the assassins of my father, he was my father and dear to you too”.

Watch: Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: TN govt to release convicts

Read: Govt to abide by SC decision in Rajiv Gandhi case, says Sibal

As for the fate of the three convicts, he neither felt angry nor sad, Gandhi said. “By being sad or angry, my father, who was also very close to you all, will not come back,” he said.

His words found instant response among the people, with the many from the crowd shouting they were upset over the issue. Cries of “Rahul Gandhi sangharsh karo ham tumhare saath hain,” rent the air.

In 1999, almost eight years after the assassination, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had said nobody should be hanged in the case.

Read: Will India abolish death penalty?

A year later, one of the conspirators, Murugan’s wife Nalini Sriharan, was granted mercy following Sonia Gandhi’s intervention.

Read: Tamil Nadu to release 7 Rajiv assassination convicts  |  Poll: Do you support TN government's decision to release Rajiv Gandhi's killers?

Also read:
Rajiv case convicts Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan rejoice at SC ruling

Release Rajiv Gandhi assassins, demands Karunanidhi

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