Elated over the Supreme Court commuting to life term the death penalty given to her son in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the mother of convict A G Perarivalan on Tuesday thanked Chief Justice A P Sathasivam for the "historic" verdict.
"I thank Chief Justice Sathasivam for the verdict. I was waiting for this for 23 years and living with the hope, wandering through streets anticipating for such an order. I now have peace of mind," an emotional Arputham Ammal told the media soon after the court commuted the death penalty of her son into life sentence.
She initially groped for words on receiving the news of the court order, but soon focused her hopes on his release from prison.
"I don't know what to say. My son has been in jail for the past 23 years though he has not committed any crime. He has suffered for no fault of his. He should be released now," she said.
“My son is not involved in the murder. My son should be released,” she pleaded.
She also thanked those who joined the campaign for commuting the death sentence of three Rajiv assassins.
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Vaiko, who has been campaigning for abolition of the death penalty in India on the ground that capital punishment has been done away with in 137 countries, hailed the Apex Court order as a "historic judgement".
"Considering the observations made by the Supreme Court removing Section 432 of CrPc, the state government should consider release of all the three convicted in the Rajiv assassination case", he demanded.
He urged Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to take steps to release Perarivalan, Santhan and Murugan, who are presently lodged in Vellore prison.
Rights groups and pro Eelam outfits also welcomed the Supreme Court judgement and celebrated it by bursting crackers at various places in Tamil Nadu.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday commuted the death sentence of three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to life imprisonment.
Image: Perarivalan's mother Arputham Ammal
Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com