Chennai: Around 1,000
members of the Tamil Nadu Youth Congress will go on a day-long
fast Tuesday to demand the withdrawal of the state assembly
resolution asking President Pratibha Patil to reconsider her
rejection of the mercy petitions of the three men sentenced to
death for conspiring in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination.
"Around 1,000 youth-wing members of the Congress are expected to
participate in the fast," Tamil Nadu Youth Congress President M.
Yuvaraja told IANS. "We are yet to get permission from the state
police. But whether we get permission or not, we will stage our
He further said, "Fourteen people were killed along with Rajiv
Gandhi. Are the lives of patriots less important than that of
Faulting Chief Minster J. Jayalaltihaa for moving the resolution,
he said: "What she did is wrong and we did not expect that from
her. All these years she has been saying that her life is under LTTE
He also wondered whether the politicians who demand commutation of
the death sentences would behave similarly if their party leader
"Just because a court held Jayalalithaa guilty in a case, AIADMK
cadres burnt alive three innocent girl students near Dharmapuri
some years ago," he added.
According to him, the family members of a Congressman who was
killed along with Gandhi at Sriperumbudur May 21, 1991, will be
present at the fast.
"We are also planning a protest September 9," he said. "We expect
senior party members to join us that day. On September 12, we plan
to hold protests in all district headquarters to press our
According to him, the Tamil Nadu Assembly has set a bad precedent
for other states by passing the resolution.
"It seems that the three terrorists have become heroes now,
whereas former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and 14 other Indians
have become villains," Yuvaraja said.
A woman suicide bomber blew herself up, killing Gandhi, prime
minister of India from 1984 to 1989, at an election rally in
Sriperumbudur near Chennai May 21, 1991.
In 1998, all the 26 accused in the case - including the three -
were sentenced to die by a special trial court for Gandhi's
In 1999, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences of four:
Murugan alias Sriharan, T. Suthendraraja alias Santhan and A.G.
Perarivalan alias Arivu and Nalini, an Indian woman who had
assisted the killer squad. The capital punishment of the others
was reduced to varying terms of imprisonment.
The death sentence of Nalini, who became a mother in prison, was
commuted to life imprisonment after her mercy petition was
accepted. The petition had the recommendation of Sonia Gandhi,
Rajiv Gandhi's widow.
Soon after the confirmation of their sentence, they made a mercy
plea to the Indian president, which was rejected and their hanging
date was fixed as Sep 9, resulting in a demand for cancellation
from various political parties, including the DMK.
On Aug 30, the Madras High Court stayed the Sept 9 hanging for
eight weeks and the state assembly passed a resolution asking the
president to review the mercy petitions.