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What sense does freeing Rajiv Gandhi's killers make to the common Indian?

The decision of the Tamilnadu government to free seven killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had created ripples in the country. Out of them three were sentenced death and others to life. The Supreme Court after taking cognisance of inordinate delay in deciding mercy petition of the three death convicts by the President of India commuted their death penalty also into life imprisonment.

Additionally, apex court has clarified that commutation to life imprisonment is entirely based on humanitarian consideration and it does amount to reduction in the severity of the crime, which has been proved beyond doubt.

The Tamilnadu government just after the commutation order of the Supreme Court jumped the gun and announced to free all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The decision by the state government was seen as politically motivated and shaped due to political expediency meant for capitalising in the upcoming polls. This decision viewed with suspicion triggered many questions.

Whether the decision has betrayed the sentiment of the people of the country or it has increased happiness of the Tamil people? Has this decision alienated some people's faith in nation building? Does some fair play expected from the political parties? Will similar incidents be repeated in other part of country? Will it prop up regional sentiments over national feelings?

The answer to these entire questions is difficult to provide. But this action can be analysed keeping the upcoming polls in mind. The fact of the matter is that the decision of the AIADMK government was prodded by the opposition DMK which had rallied for the release of these convicts. The decision was to pre-empt the DMK from gaining political mileage out of this issue.

The Supreme Court was right in its later decision to stay the order of the Tamilnadu government in this case calling its decision as untenable. The apex court has explained that the commutation of the convicts is not referral to their innocence. The nature of crime is abominable and conviction of crime is established. This decision of the Supreme Court finally has put the controversy to rest.

In our democratic set up of governance, every decision taken by the Union government or the state government caters to the fulfilment of aspiration of people. Any policy formulation, legislation or executive decision must be guided by the upright principles where these principals should further the cause of the nation building. A decision which has potential to give lease to fissiparous tendencies should be avoided.

Any decision taken in haste which tends to realise short term political opportunism might and may cause resentment in the psyche of one section of society or other may make the whole process of national integration a distant dream. So a more prudent decision is expected from the government which passes the moral muster of public scrutiny, only then senses of common people in the nation will not be betrayed.

Rajeev Ranjan

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