Fear has gripped the remote villages of Kollegal taluk on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border as President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petition of four people who were awarded death sentence in the 1993 Palar bomb blast case in which 22 policemen were killed.
They were convicted of being associated with forest Brigand Veerappan and his gang in the crime.
Following Mukherjee’s rejection of mercy petition the accused families from Sandanapalya, Maratahalli, Vaddara Doddi and Samarapalya left to Erode to meet MDMK leader Vaiko on Friday. They said they will request Vaiko to plead with the President to reconsider his decision.
Bomb Simon of Vadaradoddi, Gnana Prakash of Somavaraplaya, Pilavendra of Nallore and Meesaikara Madaiah of Sathyagala Jagiri were convicted by TADA court. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction of the four among the 140 TADA detainees in various cases as they were charged on various grounds including assisting Veerappan to kill police men. However, the families had approached the President pleading for pardon.
Ramesh, son -in-law of Pilavendra, languishing in Hindalaga jail, for the past 20 years, said that the family members are yet to recover from shock. He claimed that Pilavendra, an electrician was arrested from his farm house in Nallore and fixed in a TADA case, presuming that he helped Veerappan in making bombs.
Terming the police charges as baseless, they have decided to seek an appointment with the President and request him to re look into the case.
Sethu, of Martahalli, said that “three innocent” men are convicted in Veerappan cases and alleged that these people were taken into custody from their houses and booked because they belonged to Veerappan’s community.
Meanwhile, the villagers feel that the government should protect them as neither were associated with Veerappan nor helped him.