Pro-Tamil groups supported on Wednesday an appeal by Nalini Sriharan, serving a life term for assassinating former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, to free her and six others in the case.
Leaders such as Thol Tirumavalanan of Viduthalai Chirutaigal Katchi, P Nedumaran of Ulaga Tamil Pervavai and Seeman of Naam Tamilar met Sriharan on a day she came out of jail on parole to attend her father’s funeral.
They backed her appeal to chief minister J Jayalalithaa to set her and six others free.
“I am confident that Amma will manage to get us released,” Sriharan told a private television channel.
“I have no connection whatsoever to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. On that day (May 21, 1991) I had gone to the public meeting like any other person. I did not know if Rajiv Gandhi was tall, short, dark or fair. No one’s blood is on my hands,” she said.
“But I have been in jail for 25 years now when I have not committed any crime. Why should my daughter, who is 24 years old, suffer for no fault of hers, separated from her parents? I request Amma to release all seven of us.”
Sriharan said she was indebted to Congress president Sonia Gandhi for facilitating the commutation of her death sentence to life term. The issue of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers has always been a sensitive political issue in the state, where pro-Tamil groups have made it a poll issue.
Last year, the Tamil Nadu assembly passed a resolution seeking the release of the convicts after the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of three of them, including Sriharan, to life terms, citing inordinate delay in deciding mercy pleas.
The top court had stayed the TN government’s efforts to secure their release.