Perarivalan Family, Activists Ecstatic, Want to Take Fight to the Next Level
It was ecstasy and tears of joy for the family of Perarivalan as the television ticker scrolled the headline that Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence of three death row convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Across the state, Tamil outfits celebrated the occasion.
Activists belonging to the People’s Movement Against Death Penalty lifted Arputhammal, the mother of Perarivalan alias Arivu, who has been waging a valiant battle to prove her son’s innocence and secure his release, on their shoulders as the police, who were patrolling the busy Koyambedu Road opposite a dilapidated structure, looked on. Crackers were burst and a box of laddus and another of pedas were distributed to a few journalists who had gathered anticipating the judgement.
As the steady stream of visitors started calling on at the venue, which was earlier the protest venue to oppose death penalty to Perarivalan and the other two - Santhan and Murugan - facing the noose, journalists were jostling for space to get a sound byte from a mother who has waged a 23-year-long sustained struggle without losing hope.
The phones of the Perarivalan’s family members were continuously ringing. The venue also bore a festive look as the drummers too joined in celebrating the verdict. In the midst of a press conference, Arputhammal had to excuse herself twice. “This is an important call from Selvaraj. He is the man who also worked for my son’s release. I will get back soon,” she said as the TV journalists waited without any complaint.
Perarivalan’s younger sister Arul Selvi, his elder sister Anbumani and her son Agaran were all in demand as the media sought their reactions.
As Arputhammal was preparing to meet her son in Vellore jail, activists urged her and her family members to shake a leg to the tunes of the drumbeats. They obliged as photographers and TV cameramen tried to capture the moment in their lenses.
“The fight is not over. I want my son to be released. He is innocent,” she said while thanking the media.