Rajiv Gandhi’s assassin Perarivalan walks free after Supreme Court orders release

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31 years after he was imprisoned in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, life convict AG Perarivalan was set free on Wednesday after the Supreme Court ordered his release.

The top court order to release Perarivalan comes after a long-winded legal battle. Besides lawyers and Tamil Nadu politicians fighting his cause, his septuagenarian mother Arputham Ammal had flown across the country to meet every leader possible to help in the release of her son.

Perarivalan, one of the seven convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case , and his mother met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin in Chennai.

Sharing a video, Stalin wrote, “I met brother Perarivalan, who has returned after over 30 years in prison. I asked Brother Perarivalan and Arputhammal to set up a home life for themselves and live happily”.

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Perarivalan has been behind bars for 31 years. The Supreme Court decided to release him invoking its special powers.

“I firmly believe there is no need for capital punishment,” AG Perarivalan said hours after the Supreme Court ordered for his release, a judgement that was received with great jubilation by his family, relatives and several pro-Tamil outfits in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

Initially handed capital punishment by a special court in Chennai which was later commuted to life term, Perarivalan said he first wants to “breathe,” apparently the air of freedom, before thinking about his future.

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“I have just come out. It has been 31 years of legal battle. I have to breathe a bit. Give me some time,” he said when reporters asked how did he feel as a “free bird” and what were his future plans.

“I clearly believe there is no need for capital punishment. Not just for mercy…many justices including Supreme Court chief justices have said so and there are many examples. Everybody is human,” he said, with his mother Arputhammal and relatives by his side.

Perarivalan later played the ‘parai‘ an ancient Tamil percussion instrument, in an obvious sign of celebrating his freedom.