National » Tamil Nadu

Updated: February 15, 2013 03:43 IST

Wife of convict on death row cries for mercy

R. Ilangovan
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The Hindu

Sixty-year-old Thangamma has no energy left in her frail body to fight anymore for her husband’s life. Justice had been denied to her, she claimed on Thursday.

Her husband Sekar ‘Meesai’ Madaiah (65) is one of the four convicts facing death sentence following the rejection of their mercy petitions by the President. Arraigned as associates of forest brigand Veerappan, they were awarded the death penalty for their role in a landmine blast at Palar in 1993 case that claimed 22 lives.

Her hopes of seeing her husband back in their native Karunkallur Kottamaduvu village in Kolathur block after two decades have dimmed. The blast was triggered by Veerappan’s gang during the Special Task Force’s combing operations to nab him. STF personnel were among those killed in the blast.

Thangamma said her husband had served two decades of incarceration in various Karnataka prisons. “My husband has served his sentence. Punishing him further is cruel,” Thangamma said.

Her husband and three others, also associates of Veerappan, have been in prison since 1993 and remained on death row since 2004 when the Supreme Court enhanced their life sentence to death penalty.

“Today, after nearly a decade, their mercy petitions have been rejected. The accused and we in their families have undergone enough trauma,” she asked.

Noting that many organisations and even the State government had come forward to support the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi murder case, who obtained a stay on their hanging after the rejection of their pleas for clemency, she said: “But we have none. Can’t the State at least provide us legal aid?”

The rustic couple of Thangamma and ‘Meesai’ Madaiah led a peaceful life in the early 1960s with their three children in the village, until Veerappan, a distant relative, came into the picture.

Her eldest son Mathesh was killed by Karnataka police in 1993 when he was barely 20. Her husband’s two brothers, Muniyan and Sundan Vellaiyan, were also killed in police encounters. All, according to STF sources, were involved in illegal operations under Veerappan. “Now, I am left with just my youngest son, who was seven years old when the Palar blast took place. We live together to support each other,” she added.

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