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If freed, cloud on four Lankans

Chennai, Feb. 19: If the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case are released, the government will have to keep track of them for some time.

Nalini, Perarivalan and Ravichandran are Indian citizens and they would walk free after release.

However, they will be watched by probationary officers. “Since they had been released for good conduct in jail, they will be observed for two years. If there is any transgression, their release could be revoked and they can be sent back to jail,” said a former DIG of prisons.

But the other four — Murugan, Santhan, Robert Payas and Jeyakumar — are Sri Lankan Tamils and they will be viewed as illegal entrants without any travel papers. The Tamil Nadu government has powers to shift them to a special camp for Lankan refugees.

“There are many Lankan Tamils without any papers living in the general community. Even these four could be allowed to remain like that,” said a police officer.

It remains to be seen if the state government would impose any conditions, such as staying away from Tamil fringe groups, on the seven prisoners.

Nalini had married Murugan at Tirupathi just before their arrest in June 1991.

Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi had met Nalini at the Vellore jail on March 19, 2008.

“It was my way of coming to peace with the violence and loss that I have experienced,” Priyanka had said later.

Nalini’s daughter Megara was born in Vellore jail on January 21, 1992, when her mother was awaiting trial in the Rajiv case. After Megara’s birth, Nalini was able to keep the child with her in jail for a few years. When both Nalini and her husband Murugan were sentenced to death, his mother took the child with her to Sri Lanka.

In 2007, despite a Madras High Court order directing the Indian authorities to grant a visa to her daughter — then in Sri Lanka with her grandmother — the Indian high commission found ways to deny the visa.

The girl completed school in Sri Lanka and moved to London in 2011 with her grandmother.