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Court pleas, threats, protests to save Rajiv's killers

Monday August 29, 2011 08:15:10 PM, IANS

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Chennai: Three convicted men facing the gallows for involvement in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi Monday moved court to stay their impending execution, while pleas, demonstrations and even suicide threats erupted across Tamil Nadu in an attempt to get the trio a reprieve.

With death staring in their faces, the three convicts - Murugan alias Sriharan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan and A G Perarivalan alias Arivu - moved the Madras High Court to stay their hanging scheduled for Sep 9.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko and advocate N.Chandrasekaran have filed the petition on behalf of the three condemned prisoners.

"Vaiko has filed the petition on behalf of Perarivalan. Vaiko is counsel on record. Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani will appear for Perarivalan. The case is expected to come up for hearing Tuesday morning," MDMK's legal wing secretary G. Devadoss told IANS.

The petition will be heard by Justice Paul Vasanthakumar Tuesday.

DMK chief and former chief minister M.Karunanidhi Monday reiterated his demand for commutation of the death sentence of the three.

In a statement issued here, Karunanidhi said several countries have said death sentence is against human rights and humanitarianism.

According to him, repenting for the crime is more harsh than death sentence.

He said had Rajiv Gandhi been alive today, he would have come forward to save the lives of three following the principle of "forget and forgive".

Terming Karunanidhi of adopting double standards on the matter, Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa said it was the DMK government that April 19, 2000, decided to commute the death sentence of Nalini to that of life sentence on compassionate ground and reject the petitions of the other three.

Speaking in the assembly, Jayalalithaa said the chief minister cannot do anything after the president rejects the mercy petition and review petitions have to be sent to the president.

However, her ally and leader of DMDK Vijayakanth in a statement issued here demanded "cancellation" of the death sentence of the three Gandhi killers.

Meanwhile, the fast by three female advocates Angayarkanni, Vadivambigai and Sujatha here in support of the commutation of the three convicted men's death sentence continued for the fourth day Monday.

City police arrested around 100 students of Dr.Ambedkar Government Law College when they tried to take a procession to Raj Bhavan demanding the governor's intervention to save the convicts.

Students in Madurai and Coimbatore also held protests.

Two students of the Government Law College in Madurai climbed to the roof top of a building and threatened to jump but were later persuaded by police to desist from doing that and climb down.

On Aug 11, President Pratibha Patil rejected the mercy petitions of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan - all linked to the LTTE and sentenced to death for involvement in the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

A woman suicide bomber, Dhanu, blew herself up killing Gandhi, the prime minister of India from 1984 to 1989, at an election rally in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, May 21, 1991.

Besides Gandhi, 14 other people also lost their lives in the blast.




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