The decision of Tamil Nadu Government to release all seven convicts of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination case, including the three conspirators whose death sentences have been commuted to life by the Supreme Court, has raised a debate throughout the nation.
This decision is certain to have an impact on the Indian populace, especially when the general elections are knocking at the door.
Therefore, it becomes necessary to analyze this decision and the sense it makes to a common Indian.
Tamil Nadu Government has justified its decision of releasing the assassins by saying that they had already spent more than twenty years in prison. This argument may seem logical, but it fails to gain enough support, considering the seriousness of the crime, which is described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as an attack on the soul of the nation.
Also, there are many prisoners who have been in prison for a longer duration than these assassins, often for petty thefts and with unproven accusations. They have been neglected by the government and releasing the assassins would be injustice to these prisoners.
Most of the Indian citizens are unhappy with the decision to release the murderers of a former Prime Minister and several other innocent people present at the crime scene. There is a feeling among them that justice has been denied in this case.
Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi, son of Rajiv Gandhi was saddened by this decision. He has reportedly said, "if the assassins of a former Prime Minister are set free, what kind of justice the common man may expect. It is the duty of the Government to ensure proper and timely delivery of justice, but Tamil Nadu Government seems to be trying to deny this."
Moreover, this decision gives a hint of being inspired more by the regional sentiments than by any real concern for the prisoners.
A very large section of Tamil population has sympathy for the conspirators. They believe that these assassins are innocent, who had been brainwashed by the LTTE and lured into a conspiracy about which they had very little idea.
Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa, seems to be trying to appease this section of Tamil population for the upcoming general elections.
However, such decisions inspired by regional sentiments are not always in the national interest.
The excessive growth of the thought of regionalism is often harmful for the idea of nationalism.
The release of these assassins will certainly give rise to such demands in other parts of the country, which would be difficult to deal with. This in evident from the demand of lenient treatment and subsequent release of Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted in the assassination of Beant Singh, the former Chief Minister of Punjab.
Besides, the question of national security is also involved in such cases. India has been a victim of terrorism for a long time. National security is one of the prime concerns of a common Indian citizen.
India is facing security threats from both within and outside the borders of the country. Release of conspirators of such heinous crime would be compromising with the national security. This will boost the morale of the enemies of the nation.
India has always been criticized for being a 'Soft State' for terrorists. Release of assassins would strengthen this belief, which would be harmful for national security.
As a matter of right a common Indian desires assurance of security, justice and peace from the Government. The release of persons charged of crime against nation threatens this right. Therefore, it is not surprising that the release of assassins is being opposed by many Indian citizens, who are questioning the sense of this decision.