Nalini Rajiv Gandhi
Nalini MuruganIANS

Nalini Murugan, a life convict in the assassination case of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has approached the United National Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) with a plea to intervene and urge the Indian government to release her from prison. Murugun said she has already spent 26 years in jail for her crime.

Nalini sent a petition to the High Commissioner of the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland alleging the Indian and Tamil Nadu government have discriminated against her for "more than 16 years since I had become eligible for release from prison as early as 2001."

Nalini's husband Sriharan alias Murugan, a Sri Lankan Tamil, is also a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

"At the time of my arrest on June 13, 1991, I was pregnant and gave birth to my daughter in prison in 1992. My daughter now lives abroad at her paternal uncle's house in the United Kingdom. I am the only woman prisoner in the country who has spent more than 26 years as a life convict," she said. 

Nalini in her petition pointed out that a conspirator in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination, Gopal Vinayak Godse,  was granted a release in 1965, even though he was sentenced to deportation for life. 

Rajiv Gandhi
Rajiv GandhiWikimedia common

Nalini was arrested days after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber during Gandhi's rally in Tamil Nadu on May 21,1991. She has been in prison ever since.

The trial court in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case had sentenced all the 26 accused to death, however, the Supreme Court had acquitted 19 persons and three were sentenced to life imprisonment. The top court had upheld the death penalty for four people including Nalini and her husband in 1998.

Nalini's death sentence, however, was commuted to life by Tamil Nadu Governor in April 2000 after Sonia Gandhi made a public appeal for Nalini. The SC, in February 2014, had commuted the death penalty of the remaining three convicts to life for the 11-year delay in taking a decision on their mercy petitions.