Nalini Sriharan, one of the convicts serving life term in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has written to the National Commission for Women, seeking its intervention in securing an early release for her. “She is the longest serving woman prisoner. She has written to the NCW. Had the Tamil Nadu government used constitutional provisions, she could have been released earlier. However, they are relying on Criminal Procedure Code provisions,” Nalini’s advocate P Pugazhenthi told reporters. He said Nalini’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2000 only after the intervention and efforts of the National Commission for Women.
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Nalini, in her letter, said she has been in prison for 25 long years and was the longest serving woman prisoner. “No day passes without tears,” she said, adding she has not been able to live her life as an ordinary woman. Referring to the release of “hundreds of women prisoners from prison on important days like Anna’s (former Chief Minister and DMK founder) birth anniversary,” she said, “I have almost become depressed.”
“I have all along been eligible to be released from prison under various premature release schemes in Tamil Nadu. Unfortunately, I am yet to be released. I have almost lost all hopes of my release from prison,” she said in her letter dated on Saturday. Her husband Sriharan, alias Murugan, is also serving life sentence in the case.
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Nalini said her “only longing” was whether she would be able to see her daughter, who is abroad (UK) and whether “I will be able to arrange her marriage during my lifetime.” Nalini was arrested on June 14, 1991 in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in May that year at nearby Sriperumbudur. In 1998, a special court for bomb blast cases at Poonamallee in Vellore convicted Nalini and 25 others, and sentenced them to death. Her sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment by the Tamil Nadu Governor in 2000.