Perarivalan case: Vindicated in our stand that death penalty could go wrong, says activist

Perseverance paid off for Perarivalan, says rights activist

Updated - May 19, 2022 09:47 am IST

Published - May 18, 2022 11:25 am IST - CHENNAI

Selvaraj Murugaiyan

Selvaraj Murugaiyan | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement/The Hindu

The Supreme Court setting A.G. Perarivalan, one of the life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, at liberty is a shot in the arm for the People’s Movement Against Death Penalty, its convenor Selvaraj Murugaiyan has said.

Reacting to Perarivalan’s release after 31 years of imprisonment in the case, Mr. Murugaiyan, who spearheaded the campaign against death penalty by lobbying with politicians, legal experts and other rights activists, said perseverance paid off for Perarivalan.

He said the PMADP was founded by the late Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer against the cruel and barbaric practice of death sentences in evolved societies.

“We did play a significant role in the campaign against death penalty for Perarivalan et al, as we took his case as a role model and analysed it in-depth via a documentary called ‘Uyirvali’ aired during 2014,” Mr. Murugaiyan told The Hindu on Wednesday.

It was in this documentary that former Superintendent of Police Thiagarajan who took the statement of Perarivalan said that his confession was not recorded in full and hence was erroneous.

Justice K.T. Thomas, who upheld Perarivalan’s sentence in the Supreme Court, demanded through this documentary that he be released immediately..

“These revelations made ripples across the nation, but the fruits were never ripe for another 8 years and Perarivalan continued his lone battle for justice even after 2014. Perarivalan might have been long released if his case was looked up on the merits or legality of the case. But unfortunately, he was stuck in-between the powers of the State and the Union governments and its own bureaucracy,” Mr.Murugaiyan said.

He said the release of Perarivalan would empower everyone who stood for justice. It was perseverance that paid off for Perarivalan. “We are vindicated in our stand that the death penalty could go wrong, and here is a case to prove that. While we congratulate Perarivalan, on his release, we also thank him for presenting himself as a case study and win a case for us,” he said.

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