CHENNAI: Even as the Supreme Court verdict releasing AG Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, was welcomed by many, close relatives of people who were killed and injured in the bomb blast in which the former Prime Minister was assassinated feel that their sacrifice has been let down.
“We can’t comprehend the celebration that is going on in Tamil Nadu. Politicians and media are celebrating the release of Perarivalan. But they have forgotten about the families of those who died with the former Prime Minister at Sriperumbudur,” said S Abbas, son of S Samdhani Begum, a south Chennai Mahila Congress leader who was killed in the blast.
Abbas said the government had ignored the families of the 16 victims (many are police personnel), except for minimal financial assistance. After losing their breadwinners in the blast, they just suffered in silence for three decades, while the convicts were hailed for their sacrifice. “Is that not an irony?” he wondered.
Anusuya Daisy Ernest, one of the police officers who survived the blast, is seething with anger at the release of Perarivalan. “I lost two fingers in the blast and still have shrapnel in my body. Now the Chief Minister is hugging him and offering tea to his family. Will the CM ever allow me to see him and address my grievances? I had provided security to many political leaders and I am a Tamil woman. But a family of a convict is enjoying so much freedom. The SC gave relief to a convict but what did the victims gain?” she asked.
D Rajkumar, son of J Dharman, a police constable who was killed in the blast, says, “I can’t understand how the Chief Minister can welcome the family of a convict involved in the assassination of a former Prime Minister. Can we, the kin of victims have that access to the Chief Minister? I am not very bothered about Perarivalan’s release. But why is he being celebrated?”.
Rajkumar, employed in a private hotel, said, “Politicos are worried that the convicts have undergone imprisonment for 30 years. But they forgot the sufferings we went through.”C John Joseph, brother of Inspector Edward Joseph who was killed, feels that the release of Perarivalan is unfair. “The government has completely ignored the welfare of the victims. The governments should pay attention to the kin of victims at least now. Just because I have been raising this issue, I have been getting life threats,” he added.