Spare my son, don't hang him, pleads father

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Old 31-Aug-2011
Spare my son, don't hang him, pleads father

New Delhi: As politics builds up around the three men sentenced to death in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, all that the septugenarian father of one of those on the death row can do is to plead for mercy.

Gnanasekharan, 70, father of A.G. Perarivalan, is literally running from pillar to post in an effort to somehow avert the September 9 execution and save his son's life.

"It is a situation that even an enemy should not be in," Gnanasekharan told IANS in a phone interview. "We are counting days of my son's life here and just cannot bear the thought of a noose around his neck."

His throat turns lumpy with grief.

"He was in no way part of the conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi and does not deserve a death penalty," Gnanasekharan said.

Perarivalan, Murugan and T. Suthendraraja alias Santhan are from Chennai, and after President Pratibha Patil turned down their mercy petitions are to be hanged to death on September 9 in the jail at Vellore.

"He was 19 when arrested and now he is 37," Gnanasekharan said. "Even though he has been in jail all these years, we are happy that he is at least alive. But now we really do not know what to do."

He was confident of help from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha. "Our biggest hope was shattered when she said she had no power to alter sentence, now that the president has rejected the mercy petition," he said.

"If President K.R. Nayaranan could commute the sentence of Nalini, the first accused, why could the [present] president not do the same for my son, the 18th accused?" he asked.

A few years ago, the death sentence of Nalini was commuted to life imprisonment at the instance of Gandhi's widow and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

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