Congress workers led by CLP leader K Selvaperunthagai stage a protest after the release of A.G. Perarivalan at Rajiv Gandhi Memorial. (PTI)
Perarivalan release highlights: Congress party workers, covering their mouth using white clothes, staged state-wide protests against the release of A.G. Perarivalan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, today. While, CLP leader K Selvaperunthagai led the protest at Rajiv Gandhi Memorial in Sriperumbudur in Kanchipuram, TNCC president K S Alagiri led the protest at Chidambaram in Cuddalore District. Earlier the congress had expressed it’s disappointmentover the Supreme Court’s verdict saying the BJP had created the circumstances for the order. “A terrorist is a terrorist and should be treated as one. Today, we are deeply pained and disappointed at the decision of the Supreme Court ordering the release of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassin,” said Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala.
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Meanwhile, DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, who met Perarivalan and his family, on Wednesday, welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict ordering the release of A G Perarivalan, who has served over 30 years in jail in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, and said “The SC order also clarified that the Governor cannot interfere in the powers of an elected state government.” The opposition AIADMK also welcomed the order, recalling steps taken by the late J Jayalalithaa for Perarivalan’s release.
A G Perarivalan alias Arivu, 50, was only 19 when he was arrested on June 11, 1991. He was accused of having bought two 9-volt ‘Golden Power’ battery cells for Sivarasan, the LTTE man who masterminded the conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. The batteries were used in the bomb that killed the former Prime Minister on May 21 that year. Perarivalan was “set at liberty forthwith” on Wednesday by the Supreme Court, which used its extraordinary powers “for doing complete justice” under Article 142 of the Constitution. Perarivalan’s release marks the culmination of the legal battle he waged from his cells in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore and Puzhal Central prisons over three decades.
AG Perarivalan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, plays a musical instrument to celebrate after Supreme Court released him using special powers, at his house in Jolarpet, Tirupattur district, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (PTI Photo)
Justice K T Thomas (retd), who headed the Supreme Court bench that sentenced A G Perarivalan to death in 1999, said Wednesday he wants to meet the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict and wished him to lead a normal life. Justice Thomas’s comments came soon after the top court ordered the release of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict Perarivalan, exercising its powers under the Constitution’s Article 142, which enables the court to pass orders to do complete justice in a case.
“I wish to see him,” said Justice Thomas after hearing the news of Perarivalan’s release in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. “Perarivalan, if you find time, please visit me…” Thomas said while speaking to The Indian Express from his residence at Kottayam, Kerala. “After the long incarceration and the release at the age of 50, what should I tell him? He should get married soon… He should live happily… with his dear ones. And I give complete credit to his mother (Arputham Ammal). She deserves the entire credit,” he said.
Following the development, most political leaders in Perarivalan’s home state Tamil Nadu welcomed the apex court’s decision. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin congratulated AG Perarivalan on his release. Addressing media persons, Stalin said the Supreme Court order was a historic one. He noted that the DMK had promised to make efforts for the release of Rajiv Gandhi case convicts in its manifesto.
“The order will be remembered in history not just for an individual named Perarivalan, but for establishing the federal philosophy and autonomy of the state,” Stalin said. He added that Supreme Court judges have clearly mentioned while hearing Perarivalan’s release petition that the governor has no authority to intervene in the decision of the state government.