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View: Rajiv Gandhi's killers deserve to die. Hang them!

Last updated on: October 12, 2011 08:35 IST

Image: The three -- Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan -- lodged in Vellore jail, were scheduled to be hanged in September

India is already perceived to be a soft State by terrorists. Let us not confirm that fact, fumes A Ganesh Nadar 

May 21, 1991, had started just like any other day in the town of Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. But by night time, the name of the town was violently imprinted on the pages of history, when former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed there by a suicide bomber.

Gandhi had come to Sriperumbudur to campaign for Lok Sabha and assembly elections. He was assassinated by Dhanu, a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Fourteen others were killed and several seriously injured in the attack.

Of the 26 people sentenced to death in connection with the case, 22 were acquitted by the Supreme Court. Their cases were argued by eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani.

Congress president and Rajiv's widow Sonia Gandhi personally intervened to save Nalini Murugan, another convict in her husband's assassination, from the gallows, after which Nalini was awarded the life sentence.


Is it okay to kill non-Tamilians?

Image: Rajiv Gandhi

The death sentence of the other three convicts -- Murugan, Santhan and Perarivala -- was scheduled to be carried out on September 9. Though the date of their execution was determined, they were not hanged. The Madras high court stayed their hanging on the ground that the President had sat on their mercy petition for too long.

This extraordinary stay raised a number of questions. Can the high court question the President's action (or inaction, for that matter)? After the President turns down a mercy appeal, can anyone interfere in the process?

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government passed a resolution in the assembly against the hanging of the three convicts. Why? Because all three convicts were Tamilians?

Rajiv Gandhi was not a Tamilian, but most of the 14 other victims who died along with him were. What is the state government trying to say? Is it okay to kill non-Tamilians?

Rajiv Gandhi's assassination was a plain case of cold-blooded, pre-meditated murder. All the killers knew exactly what they were doing. Just because the assassination took place two decades ago, it does not become pardonable.

Jayalalithaa is playing to the gallery

Image: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

In Tamil Nadu, film director Seeman first raised his voice against the death sentence. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Vaiko followed suit and soon Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Karunanidhi toed the same line.

But why did a pronounced LTTE baiter like Jayalalithaa support them? She cannot forget that it was the sympathy wave after Rajiv Gandhi's death that propelled her party to victory and her to the chief minister's chair for the first time.

Jayalalithaa is obviously playing to the gallery. She thinks all Opposition parties are against the death sentence for Rajiv's killers and the people support their move. But this is far removed from the truth.

Then the LTTE grew in strength because it was supported by the government and the people of Tamil Nadu who thought that ethnic Tamils were being badly treated by the Sinhala community in Sri Lanka. So the Centre, the Tamil Nadu government and the people of the state supported them in every possible way.

The LTTE could never have taken on the powerful Sri Lankan army without recieving active support from the people of Tamil Nadu.

But the rebel outfit lost all sympathy and support when it launched a dastardly, cowardly act on a man who considered Tamil Nadu his favourite state.

Tamil Nadu has not forgiven the LTTE

Image: DMK chief Karunanidhi

For the people of Tamil Nadu, Rajiv Gandhi was their guest that day. The LTTE would not have been despised so much if the outfit had assassinated him anywhere else. The people of the state felt cheated and used.

After Gandhi's assassination the LTTE became an outcast and lost all its support in the state. Local fishermen, who used to smuggle diesel and food items for the rebel fighters, stopped overnight.

If the LTTE thinks Tamil Nadu has forgiven them, they are badly mistaken. Many people suspect that leaders like Vaiko and Seeman receive funds from LTTE supporters; neither can win an election in Tamil Nadu.

In fact, Vaiko has become irrelevant in Tamil Nadu because he speaks only about problems in Sri Lanka and never about local issues.

Jayalalithaa has misread the feelings of the people. She has only watched the high-decibel drama played out on the streets by LTTE supporters and concluded there is enough support for them.

They deserve to die and die they must

Image: Afzal Guru

Rajiv Gandhi's assassins should be hanged. And if they feel they have already "undergone many deaths" while waiting on death row, well, that is part of the punishment that they certainly deserve.

Sonia, who left her native Italy to marry Rajiv, became a widow. Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, who were barely out of their teens, lost their father. Fourteen innocent people lost their lives that day. What about the widows and orphans they left behind?

Athithi Devo Bhava -- guest is god, says the Indian sentiment, and the LTTE assassinated that god that day.

Hang them from the highest bar and let them hang till they are no more. They deserve to die and die they must. Their deaths must serve as a lesson to future assassins and killers, that you cannot get away with murder.

In Kashmir, they want to pass a resolution to pardon Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Next you will want to pardon 26/11 terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab. India is already perceived to be a soft State by terrorists. Let us not confirm that fact.

Shame on our government!

Image: Rahul and Priyanka flanked by Sonia Gandhi and Robert Vadra

Numerous acts of terror have taken place over the years and we are none the wiser as to who the perpetrators are.

But in this case, not only did we find the culprits; we even proved their crime in a court of law.

To hang or not to hang, that is the question, and the answer is, hang them. You cannot kill an Indian prime minister and get away with it. Actually, you cannot kill any Indian and get away with it.

The United States executed terrorist Osama bin Laden in another country. But we are hesitant to do the same to three killers who are in our custody. Shame on our government! The very same government which watches indifferently as loan-burdened farmers commit suicide; fails to execute those who deserve the death sentence.

History will judge us harshly if these killers get away. And every Tamilian will hang his head in shame if the foolish resolution in the state assembly is carried out.