Lifer Nalini and condemned prisoner Murugan, convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, will soon be awarded a first class degree in Master of Computer Applications (MCA) by the Indira Gandhi National Open University. The couple are presently lodged in high-security prisons at Vellore.
“She (Nalini) has cleared all subjects with a good score...her husband (Murugan) has also performed extremely well. The couple has emerged toppers among 50 plus inmates who took the Master of Computer Applications (MCA) examinations conducted by the university for prisoners in Tamil Nadu,” K. Panneerselvam, Regional Director, IGNOU, said on Thursday.
Nalini would be the first woman prisoner in the State to clear MCA. “Her performance has been consistently good. Murugan is in the final semester of MCA. He will also clear the course in a couple of months. His teachers say he is a brilliant student,” he said.
IGNOU, which is keen to be part of prison reform programmes, had not insisted on any fee from the students (inmates). Its Vice-Chancellor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai recently announced that fee for prisoners seeking to pursue higher education would be waived. “Study centres have been established in a majority of the central prisons across the State. We want to encourage prisoners to take up high-end courses. IGNOU has fully qualified teachers to take classes in prisons and the State government has provided adequate infrastructure to conduct practical sessions.”
Dr. Panneerselvam said efforts were on to confer the MCA degree on Nalini and Murugan on the prison campus.