Should the Perpetrators on Rajiv Gandhi’s Killing be Pardoned?
Posted on August 31st, 2011

by Dr. Chandana Jayalath

Rajiv Gandhi who remained aloof from politics accidentally entered into mainstream politics with the demise of his brother Sajay Gandhi in a plane crash. Following the assassination of his mother in 1984 after Operation Blue Star, Indian National Congress nominated him to be the Prime Minister. In 1988, it was Rajiv Gandhi who reversed the coup in Maldives launched by LTTE. Rajiv Gandhi who forcefully airdropped foodstuffs to then the terrorist controlled areas was also responsible for sending Indian troops (IPKF) to Sri Lanka in 1987. Rajiv Gandhi’s last public meeting representing then the opposition was at Sriperumbudur on 21 May 1991, in Tamil Nadu, while campaigning for the Lok Sabha. The Supreme Court of India confirmed that the killing was carried out due to personal animosity of the LTTE chief Prabhakaran towards Rajiv Gandhi arising out of sending the IPKF to Sri Lanka. Not only Rajiv Gandhi, 14 other people also lost their lives in the blast. After 15 years, the LTTE spokesman Anton Balasingham told the Indian television channel NDTV that the killing was a great tragedy, a monumental historical tragedy which we (LTTE) deeply regret. India was the first country to ban the Tigers as a result of this killing.

The people of India in general cannot forget this shameful crime committed by the Tamil Tigers or at their behest. Some argue that seeking forgiveness would be tantamount to endorsing the philosophy of terror, violence and assassination. Unfortunately, a woman in the name of Senkodi around the age of 27 has set herself on fire outside a government office in Kanchipuram to allegedly protest against the death sentences of three convicts. In fact, this incident and many similar incidents to forth come are not uncommon when committing suicides even for film-starts are a routine in some parts of India. A letter purported to be written by Senkodi has been obtained by police in which she had requested cancellation of the death sentence of Santhan, Perarivalan and Murugan – set to be hanged September 9 and now extended by 8 weeks. This was when President Pratibha Patil rejected the mercy petitions. Leaders of various political parties, including Congress ally DMK have demanded that the death sentences be overturned.

In 1999, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences of four; Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan and Nalini, an Indian woman who had assisted the killer squad. The death sentence of Nalini, who became a mother in prison, was commuted to life imprisonment after her mercy petition was accepted. The petition had the recommendation of Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi’s widow. Now, three convicted men facing the gallows for involvement in the assassination moved Court to stay their impending execution, while demonstrations and even suicide threats erupted across Tamil Nadu. DMK chief Karunanidhi reiterated his demand for commutation of the death sentence of the three. According to him, had Rajiv Gandhi been alive today, he would have come forward to save the lives of three following the principle of ‘forget and forgive’. Meanwhile, police have arrested around 100 students of Dr.Ambedkar Government Law College when they tried to take a procession to Raj Bhavan demanding the governor’s intervention to save the convicts. Two students of the Government Law College in Madurai climbed to the roof top of a building and threatened to jump. Their argument is that they passed more than 20 years in jail. Another point is that whether the death sentence itself should remain in the country of Buddha, Asoka and Gandhi and “ƒ”¹…”to err is human, to forgive is divine’.

Speaking in the assembly, Jayalalithaa has said the Chief Minister cannot do anything after the president rejects the mercy petition. For the Congress people and their supporters, the murder of Rajiv is such an emotional issue that they cannot reconcile with an Amnesty to the conspirators. Even people outside congress fear that the stringent punishment to terrorists is a must to eradicate the evil from the land. Many argue that it is important not to abolish death penalty when the entire world is seeking ways and means of eradicating terrorism.

It should be noted that death penalty should take place whenever it deserves. The last execution in India was in 2004 when a 41-year-old former security guard was hanged for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Kolkata. There was no political clemency prevailed on that case. Simply the criminal law offered a means by which the state prosecuted the rapist. Criminal law thus regulates the definition of and penalties for offences found to have a sufficiently deleterious social impact. Investigating, apprehending, charging, and trying suspected offenders are regulated by the penal code. The paradigm lies in the proof, beyond reasonable doubt, that a person is guilty of two things. First, the accused must commit an act which is deemed by society to be criminal. Second, the accused must have the requisite malicious intent to do a criminal act. There should be no travesty of justice, leaving behind these two limbs. Many argue that if the convicted are allowed going without punishment, there will be utter anarchy in the system of law. As long as the substantiations have been made beyond reasonable doubt, the next step is for the law to prevail.

Being the fuelling element, it is public policy that underpins the operation of a legal system which encompasses the social, moral and economic values that tie a society together. In performing this function “”…” adhering to and preserving public policies – Courts must observe critical values that are reflected in authoritative texts such as penal code. In lining out the margins (how to preserve what law has so far accomplished), it is the public judiciary function of the Court that should take forefront. Then only, the Court can avoid the danger of creating two tiered system of public justice, one for the rich and another for the poor or one for the laymen and another for the politicians. In a nutshell, the whole validity of the justice system is based on the public’s consent to justice served. Otherwise Courts will be an inferior brand of justice even in highly contested crimes. The only exception must be in an erroneous judgment since capital punishment does not leave any scope for correction and not the vote bank of Tamilnadu regional politics.


8 Responses to “Should the Perpetrators on Rajiv Gandhi’s Killing be Pardoned?”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    If the ORDER of the President of India is vetoed, by any sympathiser, or any collective legal entity, it will create a very detrimental precedent, IN INDIA, that would negate the esteemed Presidential Powers, to the status of a JOKE.

    Then it would be WIN WIN for the Terrorists and their Sympathisers, and to the MURDERERS whom they are hell bent on saving.

    That would be the start of Vaiko Terrorism in INDIA.

  2. aravinda Says:

    I believe its time to forgive and move on. These were not the main actors in Rajiv Gandhi murder. Murugan, Shanthan and Peririvalan are background figures in this shameful drama. They have been punished with 20 years in an Indian jail, and now is time to close this chapter. The real culprits are yet to be punished. Anton Balasinghm’s wife who gave our children cyanide capsules is enjoying a comfortable retirement in England. Vaiko the psycho, who went target practicing with Prabakaran is still roaming free. Where is justice?

    India gave the world great regions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It is time to go back to the basic lessons of great religions. Show mercy now and move on.

    There were eight conspirators in Mohandas Gandhi murder. Only Narayan Apte and Nathuram Godse were hanged. Gopal Godse died few years ago as a free man. Why not now? Tamil Nadu has more than its share of psychos. Committing suicide for matter unrelated to ones life is common in TN. When MGR died 62 committed suicide. Some writers say only 30. Its a crazy place. People are finding reasons to die, may be life is very hard or very boring in Tamil Nadu.

  3. dhane Says:

    When MGR died 62 or 30 committed suicide. How many will comitt suicide for Lalitha or Vaiko the psycho.
    TN is a crazy place. You can buy People to committ suicide as life is very harder or very boring to live any more in Tamil Nadu. Can see early monrning by way side activities of this Modern India and Bolleywood.

  4. ranjith Says:

    India should pardon those who are languishing in Indian jail for a long time.

    SLG has already pardoned mass murderers like Pillaiyan, Karuna, Douglas, KP, etc.

    Rajiv who sent IPKF to N & E for mass killings of innocent Tamils.

    Sri Lankan Tamils too pardoned Rajiv.

    But, Tamil diaspora never and ever pardon Rajiv who was the mass murderer. still claims.

  5. ranjith Says:

    No one will commit suicide for someone in Sri Lanka except brainwashed black tiger culprits.

    You see, Sri Lankan masses are highly educated and civilised, not like Indian idiots.

  6. Kit Athul Says:

    Dr. Jayalath, what you over looked is the Indian costitution. Compare Apples to Apples not Apples to Oranges. Indian constitution is similar to the British. So any Tamil Terrorist can go free after a crime is committed. In UK no Tamil can be prosecuted and sent jail. If a Tamil is convicted by a judge, then he appeals and wins the case. That is how the law is written today. The Sri Lanka constitution which late J.R. Jayawardena and his Uniqe Cabinet put together is the only constution in whole of South East Asia that has one man one vote policy and gives the authoritive power to the elected President. This is why Rajiv Gandhi discredited it by adding his amendments 13th and 17th. Then at a latter date to annex SL and give Tamil Nadu Tamils full control so that they can bring any amounts of Tamil Nadu Tamils to settle and own the country. This is why TNA MPs still say the Northern Province is Tamil land.

    Next, when JR completed his term, Tamil Terrorists killed all the eligible contenders so that Premadasa, a colonel in the LTTE army and a third generation MALAYALI could become the next president. After that Chandricka became the president and she was a crook. Both became muliti milliones over night. So many Sinhala had doubts about the SL Constitution, until Honorable Mahinda Rajapkse (HE MR) became the president. He restored the confidence of the Sri Lanka Constitution and greatly enhanced it with the 18th amendment. Today every Sri Lankan is proud to say that they have a Republic, elected by the people and a rock solid constitution. I have no doubt, when the time is Right, HE MR will nullify the 13th amendment, and introduce the THUN RATA KRAMAYA (RAUHUNU, MAYA, PHITI RATA) to govern the provinces.

    Dr, Jayalath, do you now see the subject you wrote about is far more complex than you thought. I do not know any thing about the Indian constitution but please when you write again please read a little about the Indian constitution, where one can see how the legal loop holes get created and the convicted Tamil Terrorists goes free. Don’t get me wrong, please write again, but don’t compare Apples to Oranges.

  7. ranjith Says:

    Beyond doubt, those criminals Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan will be released or be given life imprisonment without execution.

    If anyone demonstrate in the streets for the release of Apsal Guru, then Hindutva law will be applied to him instead of Indian law (???).

  8. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Edvige Antonia Albina Maino was born December 09, 1946 to Stefano and Paola Maino in contrada Màini (“Maini street”) in Lusiana, a little village 30 km from Vicenza in the region of Veneto, Italy. She spent her adolescence in Orbassano, a town near Turin, attending a Catholic school. Her father, a building contractor, died in 1983. Her mother and two sisters still live around Orbassano. In 1964, she went to study English at the Bell Educational Trust’s language school in the city of Cambridge. She met Rajiv Gandhi, who was enrolled in Trinity College at the University of Cambridge in 1965 at a Greek restaurant while working there, as a waitress to make ends meet. In all three years of Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure at Trinity College had not passed a single examination. Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi married in 1968.

    Antonia Maino was given the name ‘Sonia’ by her late mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi. But there is no notification in the gazette regarding this change in name. This change of name runs in Nehru family is to fool the Indian public for their votes. Indira Gandhi’s real name was Indira Priyadarshini. In 1934–35, after finishing school, Indira joined Shantiniketan,a school set up by Rabindranath Tagore. When Indira was found in the bed with her German teacher at Shantiniketan she was chased out of the Shantiniketan Rabindranath. Subsequently, she went to England and sat for the University of Oxford entrance examination, but she failed, and spent a few months at Badminton School in Bristol, before passing the exam in 1937 and enrolling at Somerville College, Oxford where she never finished her degree. Khushwant Singh, who has personally known Indira Gandhi, has said that she felt uncomfortable around educated people because she had no real education. During her stay in the UK, she frequently met Feroze Gandhi, whom she knew from Allahabad, and who was studying at the London School of Economics. Before Indira’s marriage, the then Governor of Maharashtra, Dr.Shriprakash had warned Nehru in a meeting and through a letter, that Indira was having an illicit relationship with Feroze Khan. Feroze Khan was quite sympathetic to Indira and Indira married Feroze Khan in a London mosque as per Islamic rites Feroz Khan after converting herself to Islam. Indira’s muslim name was Maimuna Begum and later both had changed their name to fool the public of India by an affidavit in a court to Indira Gandhi and Feroz Gandhi.

    After Rajiv’s birth Indira and Feroze lived separately, but they were not divorced. Feroze used to interfere in Nehru’s political activities. Nehru got fed up and left instructions not to allow him into the Prime Minister’s residence Trimurthi Bhavan. The death of Feroze in 1960 before he could consolidate his own political forces came as a relief to Nehru and Indira. Feroze had even planned to remarry. The second son of Indira known as Sanjay Gandhi was not the son of Feroze Khan. Sanjay’s real father was Mohammad Yunus who served as India’s ambassador to Turkey, Indonesia, Iraq and Spain. He represented India at the Non-Aligned Summits at Lusaka, Algiers, Colombo, New Delhi, and Harare. Baby Sanjay had been circumcised following Islamic custom, although the reason stated was phimosis. Sanjay was notorious in getting unwed young women pregnant. Menaka too was rendered pregnant by Sanjay. It was then that her father, Colonel Anand, threatened Sanjay with dire consequences if he did not marry her daughter. Incidentally, Sanjay’s marriage with the Sikh girl Menaka took place quite surprisingly through a civil ceremony(on 23 September 1974)in Mohammad Yunus’ house in New Delhi. And the marriage with Menaka who was a model (she had modelled for Bombay Dyeing wearing just a towel) was not so ordinary either. Mohammad Yunus who cried the most when Sanjay died in the plane accident.

    Sanjay never attended college, but took up an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce in Crewe, England. Sanjay Gandhi’s name was actually Sanjeev Gandhi. He was arrested for a car theft in England. Since his passport had been seized, the then Indian Ambassador to England Krishna Menon changed his name to ‘Sanjay’and procured a new passport for him.

    Rajiv Gandhi changed his so called Parsi religion to become a Catholic to marry Edvige Antonia Albina Maino. Rajiv became Roberto. His daughter’s name is Bianca and son’s name is Raul. Quite cleverly the same names are presented to the people of India as Priyanka and Rahul. What is amazing is the extent of Indians’ ignorance in such matters. The press conference that Rajiv Gandhi gave in London after taking over as prime minister of India was very informative. In this press conference, Rajiv boasted that he was NOT a Hindu but a Parsi. Mind you, speaking of the Parsi religion, he had no Parsi ancestor at all. His grandmother (father’s mother) had turned Muslim after having abandoned the Parsi religion to marry Nawab Khan. It is the western press that waged a blitz of misinformation on behalf of Rajiv.

    At the end of Rajiv Gandhi’s five years in office, the Bofors Scandal broke out. Ottavio Quattrocchi an Italian business man believed to be involved was said to be a friend of Sonia Gandhi, having access to the Prime Minister’s official residence.

    In 1980 Sonia’s name appeared in the voter’s list for New Delhi prior to her becoming an Indian Citizen. At the time she was still holding Italian Citizenship. A violation of Form 4 of the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960, which states that “Only the names of those who are citizens of India should be entered on the electoral rolls.” When she did acquire Indian Citizenship, in April 1983, the same issue cropped up again, as her name appeared on the 1983 voter’s list when the deadline for registering had been in January 1983.

    Swiss magazine Schweitzer Illustrierte in 1991 claimed that Sonia was controlling accounts worth $2 billion dollars(Rs 9400 Crores) in her son Raul’s name.

    Harvard scholar Yevgenia Albats cited KGB correspondence about payments to Rajiv Gandhi and his family, which had been arranged by Viktor Chebrikov, which shows that KGB chief Viktor Chebrikov sought in writing an “authorization to make payments in U.S. dollars to the family members of Rajiv Gandhi, namely Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Paola Maino, mother of Sonia Gandhi” from the CPSU in December 1985.

    Payments were authorized by a resolution, CPSU/CC/No 11228/3 dated 20 December 1985; and endorsed by the USSR Council of Ministers in Directive No 2633/Rs dated 20 December 1985. These payments had been coming since 1971, as payments received by Sonia Gandhi’s family and “have been audited in CPSU/CC resolution No 11187/22 OP dated 10/12/1984.

    In 1992 the media confronted the Russian government with the Albats disclosure. The Russian government confirmed the veracity of the disclosure and defended it as necessary for “Soviet ideological interest.”

    In 2008 Sonia’s party appointed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Manmohan Singh was the only international leader to initially refuse data provided by the German authorities during 2008 Liechtenstein tax affair.

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