Nalini Sriharan goes on fast-unto-death

     Nalini Sriharan, who has been imprisoned for her role in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has gone on an indefinite hunger strike, demanding her release from the Central Jail at Vellore in Tamil Nadu. This was disclosed by V Elango, her advocate at Vellore on Monday. Nalini had filed a revised petition before the Madras High Court seeking her premature release. The court had ordered the government to constitute a new advisory committee to consider her release. However, as on date, the committee has not yet been formed and in turn Nalini decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike. She had also sought release saying that she had spent 18 years more than the mandatory maximum 14 years in jail. Elango said that if the government does not listen to her plea, then her hunger strike may prove fatal. "If the government wants to consider her request, then the government has to necessarily constitute a committee immediately and place the matter before it. Unless the committee is constituted, she will continue her hunger strike. Then her health condition would be deteriorated," said Elango. Nalini Murugan alias Sriharan had accompanied the suicide bomber squad to the election rally where Rajiv Gandhi was killed in May 1991. Three other convicts sentenced to death in the same case had appealed for release on the ground that they had waited for years for the hangman - a condition worse than capital punishment. Further, they said they had also completed the life imprisonment period. Nalini, her husband and former Tamil Tiger guerrilla Murugan and two other rebels were sentenced to death for their role in the killing of Gandhi. The Madras High Court had upheld Nalini's plea for clemency on a technicality ground and on the basis of an earlier ruling of the Supreme Court, which said that both the parents of a child should not be put to death. She bore a child after being arrested and while facing the trial. Her death penalty was commuted to life sentence.

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