Tamil Nadu politicians expressed their solidarity with Arputham Ammal, the mother of A.G. Periarivalan, who has spent over 31 years imprisoned for his alleged role in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination.
On 11 June 2021, a social media campaign started demanding his release and marking 31 years since he was initially imprisoned.
Thol Thirumavalavan, leader of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), stated that it is political, not legal, hurdles that prevent his remission which concorded with the remarks made by Supreme Court Justice L. Nageswara Rao earlier this year. Thirumavalavan tweeted;
31st year of #Perarivalan's incarceration begins.His mother's struggle for justice continues.
We #StandWithArputhamAmmal as she fights for his release. It's not laws which prevent it.
— Thol. Thirumavalavan (@thirumaofficial) June 11, 2021
Indian politician and actor, Prakash Raj also extended his support to the Twitter campaign. He tweeted;
— Prakash Raj (@prakashraaj) June 11, 2021
Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief and actor, Kamal Haasan tweeted;
"Arputham ammal has knocked on all the doors of the world to rescue her son. When are we going to wipe away the thirty-year-old tears of Arputham ammal who spent every minute of hers to get her son Perarivalan released?"
மகனை மீட்க உலகின் அத்தனைக் கதவுகளையும் தட்டி விட்டார் அற்புதம் அம்மாள். தன் உயிராற்றலின் ஒவ்வொரு துளியையும் அநீதியின் கொடுங்கரங்களில் சிக்கித் தவிக்கும் பேரறிவாளனின் விடுதலைக்கே செலவழித்த இந்த அற்புதத்தாயின் முப்பதாண்டு கண்ணீரை எப்போது துடைக்கப் போகிறோம்?
— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) June 12, 2021
An ‘extraordinary’ case of injustice
Perarivalan was given the death penalty in 1991 for his involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate the former Indian Prime Minister. He was charged with providing a 9-volt battery to alleged co-conspirator Sivarasan, which was used in the explosive device that killed the leader, who served from 1984 to 1989 and oversaw the notorious Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). In 2014, the apex court commuted his sentence to life imprisonment, on grounds of an 11-year delay in deciding the mercy pleas by the Centre.
He was released on parole, on 9 October 2020, which was later extended for two weeks, by the Madras High Court due to his health condition.
Last year, Ammal pleaded through a video message to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for her son’s release, stressing that he has lost his precious years in prison and that she wants him by her side during her final years. The Chief Minister wrote to the President of India demanding the release of the seven convicts by highlighting the “inordinate delay” in the consideration of their pleas for remission and the unsafe prison conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.