Santhan, one of the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case whose death penalty was commuted to life sentence, believes that a 48-day regimen, enriched with religious rituals, prescribed by a ‘swamiji’ whom he first met in Vellore Central Prison made all the difference.
At an interaction with The Hindu , hours after the Supreme Court’s February 18 ruling, Santhan said the news came as no surprise to him. Showing a laminated photograph of his guru, now lodged in Puzhal Central Prison, he said he had full faith in his prediction.
Parrying questions why the swami was jailed, Santhan showed a hand-written note that explained the procedures he was asked to follow for the 48 days. “I had to start the day by lighting a lamp before Goddess Amman and remain a strict vegetarian. There were a few others things I had to do. On the 48th day, I was advised to be in the temple and the good news was conveyed to me there,” Santhan said, adding that he had seen many of his preceptor’s predictions come true.
Murugan, who also thanked the Supreme Court for saving him from the gallows, said he recited some special prayers in the weeks leading to the judgment day. The procedure involved offering different colours of flowers to Amman in a temple located on the prison premises. “I had a series of bad dreams … even on Monday night there was a scary dream leaving me sleepless till dawn. But I was confident that my prayers will be answered,” he said, but refused to say if he, too, was influenced by the swamiji.
Unlike them, the third convict, Perarivalan is an atheist. With a known Dravidian movement background, he said he also expected the ruling as the court had commuted the death sentence of 15 convicts to life imprisonment. “The grounds of commutation in that case are same as ours.”