The chain of events in Tamil Nadu politics after the commutation of the death penalty into life sentence of the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case is extremely disturbing (Feb.20). The Supreme Court delivered its judgment looking at the plight of convicts languishing in prisons for over two decades and did not acquit or absolve any of the convicts of the crime. The Tamil Nadu government’s move, anda deadline, is politically motivated and regrettable.
Rahul Gandhi’s reaction (Feb.20) to the move by the Tamil Nadu government and his statement that this could impact justice for the common man is certainly something to ponder over. It is unfortunate that the array of existing punishments have not had a notable impact on crimes.
It looks as if only criminals and terrorists, and not the common man, are able to enjoy the luxury of human rights.
Has anybody thought about the other victims of the bomb explosion who died along with Rajiv Gandhi? The State government’s move shows the perils of having a third alternative at the Centre. One shudders to imagine the resultant chaos with respect to inter-State water disputes, atrocities against those from other States, disbursal of Central welfare, and so on.
The chaos is the culmination of factors from persistent calls for the abolition of the death penalty to the push to save the convicts on account of the competitive politics by the DMK and the AIADMK. But the sorry state of affairs is on account of the Congress aligning itself with elements that have no respect for institutions of the land. The Congress has no moral authority to question Ms. Jayalalithaa’s decision. It will not be a surprise if Nalini or one among the other six is made to contest the Assembly/Lok Sabha elections. As a democracy, we are sending out the wrong message to terrorists. One only has to recollect the will exhibited by the U.S. government in capturing and quickly eliminating Osama bin Laden.
The peculiar situation has arisen as the UPA and the Congress in particular have been hurting the sentiments of Tamils for far too long. Like it or not, India’s pro-Sri Lanka stance on numerous occasions is an irritant. India should have leaned on Sri Lanka during the Eelam war and tried to push for democracy or at least remained neutral. While conceding the fact that the LTTE was a terrorist organisation and waged a war against a sovereign state, it should not be forgotten that India has been apathetic to the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
It is all politics in Tamil Nadu. The game of one-upmanship among parties has vitiated the political climate. The sense of fair-play and natural justice have taken a beating in the State. It is strange that senior Congress politicians from the State have not made any comments. What more proof is required of the skewed political atmosphere in the State?
Are these convicts patriots? Though they escaped death on a matter of technicality, their release or rehabilitation must be treated as a low-key affair. Had one of the great leaders of Tamil Nadu been assassinated by them, would these same political leaders have demanded their release with the same degree of enthusiasm?
The sagacious and forward-looking ruling of the Supreme Court should not be used by political groups to score brownie points with the general election in mind. The pertinent question here is: have the convicts expressed remorse for their ghastly act? Pictures and video footage of some of the convicts show them in a happy mood. Is society safe with such ideologically sinister-minded people walking scot-free? The Supreme Court must put an effective end to the brinkmanship of regional leaders whose political games will only end up threatening the rule of law and the integrity of the nation.
The State government has done this with an eye on the election and as a strategy to spilt the Congress’s allies. Also, by creating a situation for a constitutional showdown with the Centre, the State is creating a precedent for tense Centre-State relations.
K. Marxe Kalaimani,
The Chief Minister needs to be complimented. By leading the State Assembly to pass the resolution, she sensibly averted upheaval backed by other political parties and social groups. The convicts are not criminals but were unfortunately indoctrinated and forced to participate in carrying out the evil designs of a movement. That so-called liberation outfit is now rudderless. Therefore, there is no danger to law and order. Their release will not affect the peace of this land anymore.