In an unprecedented gesture in recent times, the notable celebrities of Kollywood have come together in one voice of demanding the Tamil Nadu Governor to release Perarivalan, who has been lodged in prison for nearly three decades after getting convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Perarivalan is one of seven convicts in the case and they have become the long-term inmates in India to have been lodged in prison for the past three decades, since 1991. Perarivalan's mother Arputhammal has been campaigning for the release of her son from the prison with her hope that he would spend his rest of the life with her and his father. Arputhammal is a publicly known figure in the state and she has been legally fighting for her son's release.
Perarivalan was 20 years old when he was arrested and now he is in his 49. For the past few years, the state has been witnessing fierce voices from the activists and political parties to release him and other inmates and Arputhammal has been moving her petition to both the state and central governments to release her son from the prison. Following the protests and statewide call to release, the Tamil Nadu government has in 2018 passed the resolution to release them and the resolution was sent to the Tamil Nadu Governor. However, the resolution has been lying before Governor for the past two years.
To demand the Governor to give his consent for the release of Perarivalan, notable Tamil celebrities had come together and reiterated the demand of the release and sent solidarity to the prisoner. On November 19, Arputhammal took to Twitter and called everyone to trend hashtag #ReleasePerarivalan on Twitter on November 20 and she further appealed to everyone to make Perarivalan's release possible and let your voice for justice heard.
Following her tweet, notable celebrities had joined in the same line and voiced for the release of Perarivalan. Tweeple had on Friday trended the hashtag of #ReleasePerarivalan and their posts were rampantly shared across social media. Vijay Sethupathi had shared a video message in which he requested Governor to respect the Supreme Court's order and release Perarivalan.
He stated, "Arputhammal's 29-year-old fight, we request an innocent man to be released". Music composer GV Prakash Kumar had demanded the release of all seven convicts. Taking to Twitter, he said, "Enough being imprisoned for long term. The entire Tamil community is collectively saying that the cruel imprisonment of thirty years without committing a crime is enough. The governor must release Perarivalan and other convicts".
Reputed actor Prakash Raj took to Twitter and said, "JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED...If we had post-conviction exoneration laws, Perarivalan would have been absolved legally after this officer’s interview. Sadly, we still rely on the existing laws for his release". Director Pa Ranjith said, "The denial of release due to political reasons is injustice even after the law has opened the doors".
Ace cinematographer PC Sreeram has also joined in voicing for the release. He took to Twitter and said, "From officers, to the people in our system who were part of the probe have voiced their apprehension and have put forward their point of view. Collective voice of the people should be respected. Let him see the light after 30 years". Notable people like director Karthik Subburaj, Santhosh Natarajan, and Meena Kandasamy had also voiced their demand to release the convicts. Many celebrities had posted the picture of Perarivalan and his mother Arputhammal and put their demands.
Perarivalan, Santhan, Nalini, Murugan, Robert Pious, Jayakumar, and Ravichandran are the seven convicts who are lodged for three decades. Perarivalan was 20 years old when then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in Sriperumbudur, in the outskirts of Chennai. Perarivalan was arrested on 18 June 1991 and he was convicted that he had bought two batteries which were used in the belt bomb that Dhanu used to assassin Rajiv Gandhi.
Eight years later, in May 1999, the apex court had confirmed TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) court's death sentence for Perarivalan and six others. However, the Supreme court had in 2014 reduced their death sentences to life imprisonment. In a significant development, V Thiagarajan, the former CBI officer who was part of the team that probed the assassination case, told the court in 2017 that he had omitted a crucial part of Perarivalan's statement and Perarivalan was unaware of the purpose why he was asked to buy batteries.
Ever since he issued his statement that Perarivalan wasn't part of the crime, the collective call to release him has been going high in the state as the activists and political parties have been demanding the release of Perarivalan. In line with that, the actors and directors of the Tamil industry have now been urging the Governor to release him.
போதும் இந்த நீண்ட நெடிய சிறைவாசம் ..— G.V.Prakash Kumar (@gvprakash) November 20, 2020
குற்றமிழைக்காமலே 30 ஆண்டுகால மிக கொடுமையான சிறைவாசம்..போதும்...! என தமிழினமே ஒன்றுபட்டு சொல்கிறோம்.
பேரறிவாளன் உள்ளிட்ட 7 தமிழர்களை விடுதலை செய்ய ஆளுநர் அவர்கள் ஆவணம் செய்ய வேண்டும் ! @ArputhamAmmal #ReleasePerarivalan
நீதி, நியாயம், சட்டம், தர்மம் அத்தனையையும் தாண்டி கால் நூற்றாண்டு கடந்தும் கண்ணீரோடு போராடும் ஒரு தாயின் தவிப்பைப் பாருங்கள்... சிறை தண்டனையில் அல்லாடுவது பேரறிவாளன் மட்டும் அல்ல, தாய் அற்புதம் அம்மாளும்தான். #ReleasePerarivalan pic.twitter.com/bLEuDbx5sy— Arya (@arya_offl) November 20, 2020
JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED..If we had post conviction exoneration laws, Perarivalan would have been absolved legally after this officer’s interview. Sadly, we still rely on the existing laws for his release. #ReleasePerarivalan pic.twitter.com/JPa1crRBgF— Prakash Raj (@prakashraaj) November 20, 2020
#ReleasePerarivalan— pcsreeramISC (@pcsreeram) November 20, 2020
From officers , to the people in our system who were part of the probe have voiced their apprehension and hv put forward their point of view.
Collective voice of the people should be respected .
Let him see the light aft 30years #JaiHind
30 years of Jail for a man who never committed the crime..— karthik subbaraj (@karthiksubbaraj) November 20, 2020
30 years of Struggle of a Mother to get his Son back..
Request our @CMOTamilNadu & Governor to give Justice to them 🙏
Please Let the Mother & Son live a free Life atleast from now..#ReleasePerarivalan @ArputhamAmmal pic.twitter.com/kc7wa4FLVs