Congress disagrees with Sonia, slams SC decision on Rajiv killers
Congress on Friday criticized the Supreme Court's decision to release six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The party said that it has a strong disagreement with the stand of senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) led Tamil Nadu government. She had pleaded for the release of assassins of her husband and India's former prime minister Rajiv.
Why does this story matter?
A proposal by the Tamil Nadu government for remittance of sentences to all the seven convicted was rejected by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Centre government in March this year. Congress that would seek legal remedy said that the assassination of Gandhi was "not a local murder but an attack on the sovereignty and integrity of India.
Centre, Congress on the same page on assassins of Gandhi
Both the Congress and the central government gave no relief to the assassins of Gandhi as the latter had rejected proposal of release. "Sonia Gandhi, above all, is entitled to her personal views but with the greatest respect, the party doesn't agree and has made our view clear for years," said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, responding to a question by NDTV.
Sonia Gandhi intervened two decades ago
Following the clemency petition by Sonia, in 2000, one of the convicts Nalini Sriharan's sentence was reduced to a life term. Sonia's petition pointed out "Nalini was pregnant when she was arrested." In May this year, Sriharan approached the apex court after it used special powers to free AG Perarivalan, a convict. In 2014, the sentence of the other six convicts was also commuted.
Who are the convicts Supreme Court released
On Friday the top court released all six convicts, Sriharan, Murugan, Ravichandran, Jayakumar, Suthenthiraraja, and Robert Pius. All the convicts in May this year while following Sriharan filed petitions for release. A Bench of Justices BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna while ordering release noted "the Tamil Nadu state cabinet's recommendation of their premature release in 2018 and co-convict Perarivalan's case."
Rajiv Gandhi was second Indian Prime Minister to be assassinated
Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, and thus became the second prime minister, who was assassinated after his mother Indira Gandhi. Dhanu, a woman operative of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), carried out a suicide attack on Gandhi in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, The LTTE wanted revenge against the Indian government's decision to send troops to Sri Lanka.
Congress leaders take on SC order
Spokesperson Singhvi asked, "Why the Supreme Court would invoke special powers "that it doesn't have" to free convicted assassins of a former Prime Minister." Another Congress leader Jairam Ramesh called the decision to release assassins of Gandhi as "totally unacceptable and completely erroneous". "Supreme Court has not acted in consonance with the spirit of India on this issue," Ramesh added.