DMK president M. Karunanidhi on Saturday urged Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to exercise her power guaranteed under Article 161 of the Constitution to commute the death sentence of the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

“She should not get carried away by the argument of the people who are disputing her power in this regard. She should fulfil the aspirations of the world Tamils by saving the lives of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. Any delay or obstinacy will create setback to the efforts to save their lives.”

Mr. Karunanidhi said that he was always against the death sentence, including the sentence awarded to AIADMK activists in connection with the killing of three girl students in the Dharmapuri bus-burning incident. He recalled how his intervention saved Tamil Nationalist leader Pennadam Kaliaperumal, who had been awarded the death sentence. The case was taken up with the then President V.V. Giri by Communist leader M. Kalyanasundaram and he suggested sending a mercy petition along with signature from people.

The petition was sent through Mr. Karunanidhi, who was the Chief Minister in 1974, and the death sentence was commuted.

PMK leader S. Ramadoss said that the petition filed by the State government in the Madras High Court against the commutation of death sentence was a cause of concern and disappointment. “By seeking a direction to dismiss the petition of the three, the State government wants to hang them. It is disappointing.”

Dr. Ramadoss said that the Chief Minister should adopt a resolution in the Cabinet seeking to commute the death sentence of the trio.

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