Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that he did not possess any hatred or anger towards his father's assassins and that that he had forgiven them. The former Congress chief made the remark on Wednesday in Puducherry while interacting with the students of Bharathidasan College for Women after a student asked him about his feelings towards the LTTE which was responsible for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The Congress leader's statement comes at a time when the call to release AG Perarivalan - the convict in the former PM's assassination - is growing.
It is essential to point out that the differences between the Congress' state units and the national leadership have been evident, the case might be so in this context too. Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief KS Alagiri had opposed the release of the convicts in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination and had said that political parties rooting for Perarivalan's release were unacceptable. However, Rahul Gandhi's remarks on the LTTE and his father's assassins hinted at the varying opinions of the state and the national leadership within the Congress.
"I don't have anger or hatred towards anybody. Of course, I lost my father and for me, it was a very difficult time. Do you have a father? I'm sure many girls here have lost their father. It feels like someone has cut your heart out. I don't have any hatred or anger. I forgive them", Rahul Gandhi responded to a question raised by a student on Rajiv Gandhi's assassination.
It is also pertinent to point out that Congress ally DMK has been pro-LTTE & has been consistently demanding the release of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Meanwhile, AIADMK has also vowed to release Perarivalan with CM EPS making the government's stance clear in the Assembly. The BJP, however, has remained tight-lipped on the issue. The rallying call of the regional parties seeking the release of the convicts right before the Tamil Nadu assembly polls also hints at an election angle.
On February 4, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwari Lal Purohit proposed that the President is competent to deal with the request of remission of sentence Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict AG Perarivalan. As per the affidavit filed by the Home Ministry in the Supreme Court, the MHA has stated the government will process the proposal in accordance with the law. The Supreme Court had asked the Governor to decide on Perivalan's pardon within 2 weeks after the plea has been kept pending by the Governor for over 2 years.
The plea pertains to 46-year-old Perarivalan who is seeking suspension of his life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case till the MDMA probe is completed. A G Perarivalan, Nalini, her husband Murugan, T. Suthendraraja, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, and P Ravichandran are the seven convicts in the assassination case who have been in prison for over 30 years. With Congress ally-DMK also demanding the release of all 7 convicts, CM E Palaniswami has assured that they will be released soon.