Congress on a different page: Why the party has decided to protest against Perarivalan's release?

In what has become a historical verdict, the Supreme Court has on Wednesday - May 18 awarded a complete acquittal for Perarivalan from the assassination case of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Perarivalan was one of the seven convicts in the case and he is all free now, after 31 years of incarceration. The verdict has poured a ray of hope to the rest of the convicts in pursuing the legal battle for securing an acquittal.

Perarivalan's release has come as an emotional moment to his family and he has been surfaced with wishes and solidarity from across and beyond Tamil Nadu as several people have welcomed the judgement. When a slew of political leaders including Chief Minister MK Stalin had conveyed their wishes to Perarivalan and his family and welcomed the verdict, the Congress party has apparently shown it has been on a different page and the party has criticized the judgement of releasing Perarivalan. 

Reacting to the verdict, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President KS Alagiri has said that the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts were not innocent. However, Alagiri has claimed that he was not contesting the verdict of the apex court and said that the verdict was based on legalities. He further said that the Supreme Court had earlier convicted Perarivalan long ago and that now he was being released by the same court citing legalities. 

In his Twitter post, Alagiri wrote, "We don't want to criticize the judgement of the Supreme Court. At the same time, we want to emphasise that the perpetrators are murderers and that they are not innocent." He stated that the Supreme Court's decision to release the convict as a judgment on whether the Tamil Nadu Governor was constitutionally right in referring to Perarivalan's petition for mercy to the President of India without taking a decision. 

According to reports, the Tamil Nadu Congress party has announced that the party functionaries will conduct a protest on Thursday - May 19 against the release of Perarivalan, whom the party tagged as not innocent despite the apex court's acquittal. The Congress party has sparked outrage through its stand against the judgment that has been celebrated across Tamil Nadu. 

Notably, Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai has said that he has accepted the verdict and added, "At the same time, we hope the Supreme Court does not compromise on issues surrounding the nation's security and unity."