AG Perarivalan celebrates freedom, bats for scrapping death penalty
CHENNAI: In his first reaction after the Supreme Court decision to release him, Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict, AG Perarivalan, said that he firmly believes there is no need for capital punishment, amid jubilant members of his family and those of pro-Tamil outfits at his home.
“I have just come out. It has been 31 years of legal battle. I have to breathe a bit. Give me some time,” he said, when reporters asked him about his future plans at Jolarpettai, his native village in Tirupattur district, 300 km from Chennai.
He also thanked everyone, including the “unknown” people, for helping him to get released from the jail even as his mother, Arputhammal, profusely thanked the media and others for their continuous support.
“I clearly believe there is no need for capital punishment. Not just for mercy...many justices including Supreme Court chief justices have said so and there are many examples. Everybody is human,” he said.
Perarivalan later played the ‘Parai’, an ancient Tamil percussion instrument, in an obvious sign of celebrating his freedom.
Just after the judgement was pronounced, relatives began arriving at his residence in Jolarpettai. Perarivalan offered sweets to Arputhammal and the mother-son duo thanked all those who stood by them. His sister and her family who hastened to meet and greet Perarivalan turned emotional and expressed great joy over his release. They hugged him and expressed their joy.
Peravialan’s father Kuildasan expressed great happiness over his son’s 30- year incarceration coming to an end. When asked about his future plans, including wedding, Kuildasan said such matters will be discussed by the family.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Perarivalan’s release taking into account his good conduct in prison, medical condition, educational qualifications acquired in jail and the long pendency of his mercy plea since December 2015.
Perarivalan was among seven persons convicted by a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court for being part of the conspiracy to assassinate former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on 21 May 1991. His role was limited to supplying the battery used in the bomb that led to the tragic incident. His death sentence was commuted to life by the Supreme Court in February 2014.
(With PTI inputs)