Following the Supreme Court’s order commuting the death sentences of 15 death row inmates, including four associates of forest brigand Veerappan, some political parties in Tamil Nadu demanded commutation of death sentence awarded to Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

“The order has offered a ray of hope to the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, since their mercy petitions were also dismissed after a long wait of 11 years,” said PMK leader S. Ramadoss, who has been campaigning against their death penalty.

“In a civilized society, there is no room for death penalty,” Dr Ramadoss said.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko argued that Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan were innocent and had been languishing in jail for 23 years. “It is worse than death sentence. No decision was taken on their mercy petition for 11 years. There is a hope that their death penalty will also be commuted during a hearing slated for January 29,” Mr Vaiko said.

He said the judgment could pave way for eradication of death penalty.

Viduthalai Chiruthikal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol. Thirumavalavan said the present judgment could be extended in the case of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

He said the four persons convicted in the Palar blast case had spent many years in jail and the Karnataka government could remove the bitter feeling between the Tamils and Kannadigas by releasing them.

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