Three men serving life sentence in the Dharmapuri bus burning case of 2000 were released from prison on Monday after the Tamil Nadu government recommended that they be set free, reported The Indian Express.

The men, who are All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam workers, had set a college bus on fire during a protest, killing three students of the Tamil Nadu Government Agricultural University. There were travelling with 44 other students and two teachers, according to The Hindu.

The incident took place on February 2, 2000, after a special court found AIADMK leader and former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa guilty in a corruption case and sentenced her to a year in prison. The conviction led to violent statewide protests by AIADMK members.

A trial court found Nedunchezhiyan, Ravindran and Muniyappan guilty and sentenced them to death in February 2007. In 2016, the Supreme Court reduced their punishment to life imprisonment. They were among the 1,800 life convicts the AIADMK-led state government had recommended for premature release earlier this year. Governor Banwarilal Purohit had asked the government to reconsider its decision but it stuck to its stance.

Jayalalithaa was in the Opposition at the time of the incident, and was later acquitted in the corruption case. She died in 2016.