NEW DELHI, March 4 (Xinhua) — The Indian government has said it was examining a letter sent by local government of Tamil Nadu regarding the release of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassins from jail.
“We have received the letter yesterday and government is examining it,” Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Indian parliament on Thursday. “The Supreme Court has already given its decision on the matter. Now it is the constitutional and moral responsibility of government to abide by the decision of the apex court.”
On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu government wrote to the federal home ministry seeking its opinion on releasing seven plotters in the Gandhi assassination case. The letter stated that while the state has already decided to release the seven convicts, it was necessary to seek the federal government’s opinion.
The letter goes on saying, the Tamil Nadu government had received petitions from all seven convicts — Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Nalini requesting their release on the ground that they had spent over 24 years in jail.
India’s main opposition Congress party’s leader in parliament Mallikarjun Kharge Thursday demanded that the letter written by Tamil Nadu government should not be entertained.
“The assassins must not be released to uphold integrity of the country,” Kharge said.
Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 during an election rally at Sriperumbudur near southern Chennai city by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a group demanding separate home land for Tamils in neighboring Sri Lanka.
Gandhi’s murder was seen as retaliation to India’s move of sending peacekeepers (troops) to Sri Lanka in 1987.
In 2014, the Tamil Nadu government decided to release all the seven including a woman convicted of plotting the assassination of Gandhi.
However, the then federal government headed by Congress party challenged the state’s effort in Supreme Court, which subsequently stated Tamil Nadu cannot free the convicts without consulting the central government.
Rahul Gandhi, the vice-president of Congress party and son of Rajiv Gandhi Thursday said government has to decide on the release of killers of the former prime minister.
“I would say officially that the issue has come to the central government and the government has to decide. Personally, as a son, I would not like to express my opinion,” a local news channel quoted Rahul Gandhi as having said.