Assassins of former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi to be hanged next month


CHENNAI, INDIA (BNO NEWS) — The three men who were convicted for their roles in the 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi are to be hanged next month after their mercy pleas were rejected, The Hindu newspaper reported on Friday.

The clemency petitions of the three were rejected by President Pratibha Patil earlier this month, 11 years after they were filed, and the Union Home Ministry notified its decision to the Tamil Nadu government this week.

After receiving the message, Vellore Central Prison authorities have begun the preparations for the executions which are scheduled to be carried out on September 9.

Murugan, Santhan, and Perarivalan were sentenced to death in 1999 along with Murugan’s wife, Nalini, for plotting to assassinate former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Gandhi was killed by a female suicide bomber in the town of Sriperumbudur in the Indian southern state of Tamil Nadu, on May 21, 1991, while he was addressing an election rally. 14 others were also killed in the explosion.

All three of the condemned men were members of the Sri Lankan rebel group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). However, Perarivalan is an Indian national while Murugan and Santhan are Sri Lankans.

In 1999, the Indian Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences of the three men but commuted capital punishment to life imprisonment for Nalini. A few political parties and organizations have held demonstrations seeking remission of the punishment and condemning death sentences.

Death penalty is legal but rare in India, although people are frequently sentenced to death. The last execution was in 2004 when a security guard was hanged for raping and murdering a teenage girl. The previous one took place in 1995.

The notification of the mercy pleas’ rejection comes after the release of Perarivalan’s book entitled “An appeal from the death row (Rajiv murder case – The truth speaks).” The book, which was released on Tuesday, narrates Perarivalan’s side of the story as a death row convict for the past 21 years, including the handling of the case and his appeals for justice.

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