Nalini Sriharan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, said on Saturday that she felt sorry for those who died in the 1991 blast, NDTV reported.
Sriharan and five other life-term convicts – Robert Pais, Suthenthira Raja alias Santhan, Shriharan alias Murugan, Jaikumar and RP Ravichandran – were released from Tamil Nadu prisons on Saturday evening. On November 11, the Supreme Court ordered their early release, citing their satisfactory behaviour in custody.
After her release from prison, Sriharan said that she hoped that the relatives of those who were killed in the suicide bombing come out of the tragedy. “I am very sorry for them,” she said. “We have spent so many years thinking about it, and we are sorry.”
Sriharan thanked the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government for releasing her, ANI reported. She said that she was not planning to meet anyone from the Gandhi family, and would be with her husband.
“I will go wherever my husband goes,” she said. “We were separated for 32 years. Our family kept waiting for us.”
Meanwhile, Ravichandran said that the citizens of north India should view the convicts as victims rather than terrorists or killers. “Time and power determine who is a terrorist or a freedom fighter but time will judge us as innocent, even if we bear the blame for being terrorists.”
Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed in Sriperumbudur near Chennai on May 21, 1991, when an operative of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam detonated her RDX-laden belt. Fifteen others – including the suicide bomber Dhanu – were also killed in the blast.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was seeking revenge for the Indian government’s decision to send troops to Sri Lanka to help the island nation fight Tamil separatists.
In 1998, a court had sentenced 26 people to death for conspiring to kill the former prime minister.
A year later, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of only four of them – Nalini Sriharan, Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan and AG Perarivalan. In 2000, Nalini’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.