The prisoners greet Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan

Soon after the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan to life imprisonment, celebrations began in Vellore town that houses the central prison where the trio are lodged since 1991.

Cadres of political parties and Tamil outfits burst crackers and distributed sweets to the people. Amid drumbeats in front of the prison, activists of Tamil organisations raised slogans welcoming the verdict.

“It is a victory to the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko, who consistently fought for the release of the three convicts and paid several lakh of rupees from the party fund as fees to advocates for pursuing the case over the years,” MDMK governing council member N. Subramani said.

Even as a large number of people gathered in front of the prison and sought appointment to meet the convicts, the jail authorities made it clear that only six persons would be allowed to meet each of the convicts per day. Family and close friends who were allowed to meet them carried loads of sweet packets into the prison.

DD breaks news

“Since early on Tuesday, inmates were glued to television sets watching Doordarshan in anticipation of the apex court verdict. Minutes after the judgment was pronounced, there was flash news on the TV. The prisoners greeted Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan...many were in tears as years of uncertainty finally came to an end,” a prison official said. Though all central prisons across the State have television sets for the entertainment of inmates, the State-owned Doordarshan is the only channel relayed the news.

A large posse of armed police personnel was deployed at the main entrance of the prison where some terror suspects are also lodged. Advocates and family members of the convicts met them and discussed the next course of action.

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