Victims' families mull action to 'halt' release

Victims' families mull action to 'halt' release

Sulking over the government decision to set free seven convicts, the family members of victims who were killed along with Rajiv Gandhi in the suicide bomb attack are "exploring avenues" to "halt" their release.

"They say the convicts are Tamils. Are not we, the families of victims and the victims, Tamils?" 'League' M Mohan son of 'League' Munusamy, a Congress functionary who was killed alongside Rajiv Gandhi said, adding that this would set a dangerous precedent."We the families of victims are in touch. We are seeing if something could be done to halt the release," he told PTI.

Javed Iqbal, who lost his father when he was 18 years old in 1991 wanted to know "how the ends of justice would be met" if they do nót undergo punishment. His father, TKS Mohammed Iqbal, had, in his capacity as Kancheepuram District Superintendent of Police, escorted Rajiv Gandhi to Sriperumbudur.

Javed recalls how he could not pursue higher studies after the death of his father. "Life became painful without him. I and my family struggled a lot without the love and support of my father," he told PTI.

Wondering why for the past 23 years no one bothered to visit the families of victims and see if the they were "alive or dead", he questioned the intention of rights activists in regularly calling on Nalini and other convicts alone.

Stating that he could not understand the "logic of our country's laws", Javed recounted how Santhan and others were initially convicted and sentenced to death.

"Death sentence was later confirmed by the top court and the executive. Yesterday, the apex court said life imprisonment was enough and today the state government wants to set them free. I don't understand," he said.

He also rued that the efforts of the victims'families in organising protest demonstrations a few years ago seeking implementation of death penalty had gone in vain."We [victims'families] are now contemplating if there are any possibilities [legally or through government] to stop their release," Javed said.

"No one seems to be bothered about Rajiv Gandhi, the slain tallest leader of India, and those who were killed along with him and their families in 1991," said Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president B S Gnanadesikan.

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