Relatives meet the four Veerappan aides on death row

Slain forest brigand Veerappan’s four associates, Simon, Gnanaprakash, Madaiah and Bilavendran, whose mercy petitions were rejected by the President and Supreme Court stayed their execution for six weeks, want uncertainty to end at the earliest.

‘Pray God for justice’

Relatives of the four convicts, who met them at the Hindalga Central Prison in Belgaum on Friday, told presspersons that the four were “not guilty” and that the convicts had asked them to pray God for justice, and that the Supreme Court’s stay on their executions had only added to their mental agony and uncertainty.

As many as 14 relatives from villages under the Martalli gram panchayat limits in Kollegal taluk of Chamarajanagar district were allowed to meet the convicts. The meeting took place for around 30 minutes.

The family members who had come to meet Gnanaprakash were his son, Arul Das; sister, Sandana Mary; brother, Sesuraj; son-in-law, Savarimuttu; and daughter, Sagaya Mary.

Those who had come to meet Simon were his brother, Lurduswami; cousin, Chandrashekar; and son-in-law, Gilbart Sagayaraj.

Madaiah got to meet his sister, Therese Meera, and brother, Franklin Pernandi.

And, those who had come to meet Bilavendran were his daughter, Shanti Mary; nephew, John Bosco; and two other relatives, Irudaya Mary, and Mani Kulandran Swami.

Mr. Mani Kulandran Swami told presspersons that he also was arrested by the police and cases were booked against him under TADA. But, he was acquitted after he spent three years and eight months in jail as the prosecution could not produce any evidence against him. According to him, every resident of Kollegal taluk was of the view that the four were innocent. And the apex court’s stay on execution of the four associates of Veerappan had raised hopes among them, but they were prepared for any eventuality.

Mr. Bosco, who is a priest in Oddarduddi, conveyed similar views. He shared with presspersons a dream that Bilavendra had seen recently. He said that Bilavendra had told him that recently he dreamt that when he was trying to cross a river, he was caught in the current but an angel rescued him.

While Mr. Bosco had brought some chocolates for the four convicts they had come to meet, the other relatives had brought with them some snacks.

‘Can’t afford visits’

Mr. Mani said it would not be possible for them to come to meet their convicted relatives because all of them (the visiting relatives) were poor. A visit to Belgaum costs each of them Rs. 1,500, he added.

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