“Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa saved Arivu from the noose, and now she has ensured his freedom,” said T Gnanasekaran, Perarivalan alias Arivu’s father, at Jolarpet on Wednesday.
Terming the Chief Minister’s announcement as a brave one, Gnanasekaran, a retired government school teacher, said that the decision was like rain which quenched the parched throat of a man who was wandering in a desert.
Excitement in Jolarpet, hometown of Arivu, was palpable with the Chief Minister announcing the release of Arivu, Santhan, Murugan, Nalini and three others convicted in former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case within 24 hours of the Supreme Court commuting the death sentences of Arivu and two others to life.
Gnanasekaran’s house on Singaravel Muthaliyar Street in the town was abuzz with activity with scores of youth thronging and celebrating the CM’s announcement.
Though the face of 19-year-old Arivu has faded away from the memories of the elders in the town, his imminent release has raised the hopes of seeing him again.
“Gnanasekaran said once Arivu was picked up for inquiry in the case on June 11, 1991, their family began facing isolation with the rest of the town avoiding any contact with them.
“The tag of Rajiv killer forced many of his friends to keep a safe distance from us. The scenario changed after social activists pitched in for commutation of the death sentence in 2009. Once they realised that he was falsely implicated in the case, the entire town backed us,” Arivu’s father said.