CHENNAI: The AIADMK-BJP tie-up for the coming parliamentary elections has spurred Nalini Sriharan, India‘s longest serving woman prisoner, to point to the ‘political development‘ and urge the government to offer early release to all seven life convicts serving their life term in the .
“Because of recent political development, we have become more confident that the chief minister will make every effort to convince the governor about the desirability of our immediate release from prison. This is our last hope and our lives are absolutely in the hands of the chief minister,” Nalini said in her representation dated February 23.
The fact that the PMK had not only included the release of seven convicts in its charter of 10 demands for a poll alliance with AIADMK, but also made it clear that it was one of the party‘s key demands, has given Nalini fresh hope, her lawyer P Pugalenthi told TOI.
More than five months ago, the Tamil Nadu cabinet recommended to the state governor favouring premature release of Nalini Sriharan, Murugan alias Sriharan, Perarivalan, Robert Payas, Ravichandran, Santhan and Jayakumar. It was on September 9, 2018, that the state cabinet adopted the resolution and forwarded it to the governor, to enable him to use his powers under Article 161 of the Constitution. As per Article 161, the governor of a state shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter in the state.
In her present letter, Nalini cited Article 161 and pointed out how binding a cabinet recommendation was on the governor, adding: “I am perhaps the longest serving woman prisoner in India. All of us have served more than 27 years in prison as life convicts. We have been expecting the order of your government every day. But we are disappointed every day after knowing that the governor of Tamil Nadu is yet to sign the necessary proceedings.”
Though her co-convict Perarivalan‘s mother Arputhammal has been sending representations to various authorities and meeting them, canvassing for the release of her son and six others, this is the first time after September 9, 2018 that Nalini has written to the government.