Assassin of Indian ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi Goes Free

The Supreme Court of India has granted the freedom of one of the men convicted in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

AG Perarivalan served more than 30 years in prison before his release on Wednesday.

Perarivalan, who was arrested when he was 19 years old, was found guilty of obtaining batteries for the bomb that murdered Gandhi and was sentenced to death in 1998.

In 2014, Perarivalan’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and in March of this year, he was given bail. Perarivalan was eventually granted an early release by the Supreme Court.

The release of Perarivalan divided Indian opinion, with many celebratory responses on Twitter. However, Indian news agency The Hindu deemed the release “impractical.”

“The judgment should not be seen as any endorsement of the claims of innocence of the convicts in the dastardly conspiracy. And whether governments should recommend remission on the basis of public opinion remains a question to ponder,” said The Hindu.

Gandhi was assassinated by a female suicide bomber in 1991, which was largely interpreted as punishment for sending Indian peacekeepers to Sri Lanka when he was Prime Minister in 1987.

The Indian public has speculated that the verdict may pave the path for the release of the remaining six defendants in the case.

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