The Supreme Court on Friday ordered premature release of Nalini Sriharan and R P Ravichandran serving life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
The development attracted political reactions as well. The sharpest reaction came from Congress. The grand old party criticized the release of the convicts of former Prime Minister and Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. It also created political upheaval in Tamil Nadu politics as DMK, a partner of UPA, welcomed the move.
Congress even disagrees with Sonia Gandhi’s view
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said the party disagreed with former party president Sonia Gandhi on the issue.
“Sonia Gandhi, above all, is entitled to her personal views. But with greatest respect, party doesn’t agree and has made our view clear,” said Abhishek Singhvi when asked that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met convict Nalini and Sonia Gandhi herself gave a statement forgiving the jailed convict.
“We stand by that view because according to us, sovereignty, integrity, identity of the nation is involved in a PM’s assassination sitting or former. That’s perhaps why Central government has also never agreed with the State government’s view in this regard,” added Singhvi.
Another senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also criticized Supreme Court’s order. “SC’s decision to free remaining killers of former PM Rajiv Gandhi is unacceptable and completely erroneous. Congress criticises it and finds it wholly untenable. Unfortunate that SC not acted in consonance with spirit of India,” said Ramesh.
Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi supported their mother Sonia Gandhi
In an interview in 2009, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Rajiv Gandhi also had expressed her opinion to forgive Nalini. Rahul Gandhi had also said he has no objection on releasing of convict. So, wholistically, Gandhi family has no objection over the release of convicts.
Congress’ ally DMK welcomes the release
Politically, it is an absurd situation as DMK, Congress ally, welcomed the release.
“The release of 6 convicts serving life imprisonment in the assassination of ex-PM Rajiv Gandhi. I welcome the Supreme Court verdict on release of 6 persons. This judgment is proof that decisions of elected government shouldn’t be shelved by Governors in appointed positions,” said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin contradicting Congress’ stand.
Meanwhile, On April 19, 2000, Tamil Nadu Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi recommended commutation of Nalini’s death sentence to life imprisonment.
AIADM was also in favour of releasing of convicts. In 2004, the then Tamil Nadu Chief M0inister J Jayalalithaa triggered outrage in Congress by announcing her government’s decision to release all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Notably, perhaps, this is the first time Congress as party dared to against the views of Sonia Gandhi. It would be interesting to see how releasing of convicts would politically play up in Tamil Nadu politics.
(With Agencies input)
Also Read: Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: SC orders release of Nalini, other convicts; Congress calls it ‘unfortunate’
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