The Congress on Monday attacked the Tamil Nadu government and the Centre accusing them of “playing politics” over the state’s recommendation to release those convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

“Unfortunately, the Bharatiya Janata Party is looking at terrorism too from a partisan perspective,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said at a press briefing in New Delhi, the Hindustan Times reported. “Is it not true that BJP’s ally, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and BJP-appointed governor [Banwarilal Purohit] are proceeding to recommend reprieve, remission and release of the assassins?”

“We are of clear opinion that the state cannot [be] derelict [in] its duty of punishing terrorists and terrorism,” Surjewala added. “Those who swear by pseudo nationalism day in and day out, are today doing politics over the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi.”

Surjewala also attempted to downplay the statements of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, his sister Priyanka Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who have expressed a lack of enmity towards the convicts. Calling their statements “large-hearted”, Surejwala said according to PTI: “Does the state have a duty to protect terrorists or to find terrorists?”

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 by a suicide bomber of the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam organisation at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, while he was on an election rally.