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We are innocent, say Veerappan's aides

Special Correspondent
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The death row convicts seek relief from Supreme Court

Advocate M. Ramesh seeking a meeting with four death row convicts on behalf of priests, with an official of the Hindalga Central Prison in Belgaum on Tuesday. —PHOTO: D.B. PATIL
Advocate M. Ramesh seeking a meeting with four death row convicts on behalf of priests, with an official of the Hindalga Central Prison in Belgaum on Tuesday. —PHOTO: D.B. PATIL

“We are innocent, we have not committed the offence for which we have been convicted and sentenced to death. We know and God knows,” say four death row convicts and associates of slain forest brigand Veerappan.

The convicts, incarcerated at Hindalga Central Prison in Belgaum, also told three Christian priests when they met them in the prison that they would accept with respect the verdict of the Supreme Court which is to hear on Wednesday a fresh petition seeking commutation of death sentence.

Yet, they urged the priests, who also claimed to be relatives of the convicts, to do something to get relief from the apex court or make a fresh appeal to the President to reconsider his decision.

Human rights activist and advocate M. Ramesh, who arranged for the audience with the convicts at jail, told The Hindu that a fresh appeal with a humble request to reconsider his decision on rejecting their mercy petition would be made to the President. The appeal would be faxed to President immediately, he said. The priests told reporters waiting outside the jail that the convicts were happy to see them (relatives). They were in normal health condition. None of the four expressed any “last wish” but only requested to prevail upon the President to reconsider his decision.

The priests thanked the jail authorities for facilitating the meeting with the death row convicts. Later, Mr.Ramesh, who is also secretary of two Belgaum-based NGOs, said that he had arranged the meeting on behalf of the Madurai- based NGO, Peoples’ Watch.


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