TIRUCHY: Even as the Supreme Court on Friday allowed the remaining six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to walk free, four of them—V Sriharan alias Murugan, Santhan, Robert Payas and Jayakumar—were brought to the special camp at the Central Prison in Tiruchy under police escort on Saturday night.
While calls for their release arise from various quarters, the four Sri Lankan nationals’ movement remains restricted until further orders.
A source said the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), which comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has invoked Section 3(2)(E) of the Foreigners Act, 1946, to restrict the movement of the four convicts and confine them at the camp, which is a foreigners’ detention centre.
“In this scenario, either the four have to file a petition with the government authorities demanding their deportation procedure to move to another country, including issuance of passports, or the State government should intervene and hold a discussion with the MHA demanding their release from the special camp,” the source added.
A Kennedy, an advocate at the district court who works closely with the inmates of the special camp, said that notwithstanding the Supreme Court order, the case background has led to the detention of the four at the camp.
“Two among the four have married Indian nationals, so by referring Section 5(1)(C) of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, the two convicts, Murugan and Jayakumar, can seek Indian citizenship,” he added.
VCK leader Vanni Arasu said the special camp was against human rights. “Confining the four even after the SC order goes against their rights. They should at least be allowed to stay in a separate house to breathe free after decades.”
Kennedy, however, pointed out that the special camp comes under the district collector’s purview and hence his permission must be sought to stay outside the camp. Also, Indian citizen should ensure their stay and provide surety for them, he said.
When contacted, District Collector and special camp in-charge M Pradeep Kumar said the four would be staying in the special camp until they receive any deportation orders from FRRO. “It’s regular procedure applicable to any foreign citizen. Anyone getting released or getting bail can’t be accommodated in any other place other than the special camp,” he added. On the measures taken for the four, the collector said special arrangements for food and accommodation were made and added that additional police personnel have been deployed in and around the camp.
What is the special camp?
The special camp on the premises of the Central Prison in Tiruchy houses foreign nationals who were allegedly involved in criminal activities like possession of illegal passports and smuggling. If any of the refugees living in the rehabilitation camps run by the government involve in unlawful activities, they would be moved to the special camp. Currently, the special camp at Tiruchy has around 130 inmates, including those from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nigeria.