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Release Perarivalan: Actors, Writers, Political Leaders Demand Release of Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Convict

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A day ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Chennai on Saturday, several members of the Tamil film industry, political leaders, and writers took to social media to demand the release of AG Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case of 1991.

A 19-year-old Perarivalan was arrested on June 11, 1991, on the charges of purchasing two nine-volt batteries for the explosive device that was used to assassinate the former prime minister. In 2018, the Tamil Nadu government recommended the release of Perarivalan and six other convicts in the assassination case under Article 161. The recommendation, however has been lying with Governor Banwarilal Purohit for two years. According to The Indian Express, Perarivalan, who is lodged in Chennai’s Puzhal Central Prison, wrote to the Governor on January 25, a few days after the Supreme Court pulled up the CBI for failing to progress in its investigation of the larger conspiracy behind Gandhi’s assassination.

On Friday, as #ReleasePerarivalan began trending on Twitter, veteran director Bharathiraja issued a statement demanding the release of the convict as per the Supreme Court order and stressed that it was disappointing that the order has not yet been executed.

 

Tweeting a photo of Perarivalan and his mother Arputhammal, who has been pleading  for 29 years for her son’s release, actor Prakash Raj wrote, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Several others from the film fraternity also took to social media to plead for his release.

 

 

Emphasising on the struggles of Arputhammal pleading for her son’s release for nearly three decades, actor Vijay Sethupathi posted a video requesting the Tamil Nadu governor in the release of Perarivalan, as per the Supreme Court order.

 

Writer and poet Meena Kandasamy tweeted, “Tamil epic heroine Kannagi fought the state against wrongful execution of her husband. Today’s heroine of epic proportions is Arputham Ammal, who at 72, has spent 29 years demanding #ReleasePerarivalan, freedom for her wrongfully-imprisoned son. Support her fight. @CMOTamilNadu.”

Political leaders, including VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan and S Ramadoss of PMK, demanded the release, too.

Taking to Twitter, S Ramadoss wrote, “The IO has stated that Perarivalan was innocent, & has to be released; The SC has ruled that there is no legal impediment to release him. The TN Cabinet has also recommended for his release, yet refusing to release Perarivalan is unjust. #ReleasePerarivalan immediately.”

 

The release of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case is a sensitive issue in Tamil Nadu. While it has divided electoral allies DMK and the Congress, the AIADMK has maintained its distance from making any strongly-worded statements on the issue and has only questioned the governor’s delay in giving his assent to Perarivalan’s release.

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