Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the assassination of his father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 caused him "tremendous pain" but he did not have any hatred or anger towards the murderers.
Addressing a crowd of students in Puducherry, Gandhi said, "I don't have anger or hatred towards anybody. Of course, I lost my father and for me it was a very difficult time", adding that the killing was as painful as having one's heart severed.
During the interaction at Bharathidasan Government College for Women in Puducherry, a student asked, "Your father was killed by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). What are your feelings about these people?"
In response, the former Congress president said, "I felt tremendous pain, but I don't feel anger, I do not feel any hatred or any anger. I forgive".
"Violence cannot take away anything from you... my father is alive in me...my father is talking through me," Gandhi said while responding to another question related to his decision to enter politics despite assassination of his father Rajiv Gandhi and grandmother Indira Gandhi.
'For another day'
Responding a question related to his friends and girlfriends, the Congress leader said he had "plenty of" friends having political background and the people who shared similar interest but didn't say anything on his girlfriends, news agency PTI reported.
However, when another question repeated the same tone and sought his response on girlfriends, Rahul said, "We leave that for another day". When addressed by students as 'Sir', he asked them to call him by name "Rahul" and many have made it "Rahul anna" later.
Murder of Rajiv Gandhi
The then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in May, 1991 by a female suicide bomber during an election rally in Sriperumbudur near Chennai. Apart from him, at least 14 others had lost their lives and over 45 people were seriously injured in the bombing by Thenmozhi Rajarathinam aka Dhanu, an LITTE worker.
Seven of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi murder case are still behind the bars. The LITTE, which was fighting a civil war in Sri Lanka, was defeated with the killing of its chief Prabhakaran in 2009.
A political issue now
The matter involving the convicts of the Rajiv Gandhi murder is a highly political and sensitive issue in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Most of the parties have demanded the release of the seven convicts, including DMK. Congress party has remained neutral while its ally DMK sought the release of them. In February last year, the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu had told the Madras High Court that it had recommended release of all the seven people, convicted to life imprisonment, to the Governor.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit, earlier this month, said that the President of India is the "appropriate competent authority" to take a decision on the matter.