Families jubilant over verdict

After sustained struggle, the kin of those convicted of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi can heave a sigh of relief, as the 23-year-long suspense over the fate of Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan finally ended with the Supreme Court commuting their death sentence to life imprisonment on Tuesday.

Perarivalan alias Arivu's mother Arputhammal was all smiles at her residence, distributing sweets on hearing the news of the apex court's judgment.

“I have no words to express my happiness. This judgment is the culmination of our fight against capital punishment. I will continue to fight,” she told Deccan Herald.

After a 23-year battle to prove her son's innocence, she says her fight is only half won. “I hope the Tamil Nadu government will release my son. He deserves a life,” she said.
As supporters and relatives of Perarivalan rejoiced by bursting crackers and distributing sweets in the Koyambedu area of the city, his sister Arul Selvi said, “This historic judgement will also come as solace to other convicts facing death penalty in various parts of India.”

A couple of hours after the Supreme Court verdict, Murugan and Nalini's parents met them at the Central Prison here, where they were lodged.

Padmavathy, who called on Nalini at the Women's Special Cell at Vellore Central Prison, about 90 km from here, said it was reward for justice.

“This is a long wait. Justice has been rendered at last,” she said, thanking all those who had been fighting for the abolition of death penalty.

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