The Hindu (Tiruchirapalli)

R.N. Ravi urged to free 49 life convicts, including Muslims


Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam leader M.H. Jawahirull­ah on Friday appealed to Governor R.N. Ravi to act on the State government’s recommenda­tion to release 49 life convicts, including Muslims, who have spent over 25 years in prison.

Addressing the media, Mr. Jawahirull­ah, who is also an MLA, said that “following the government’s recommenda­tion”, the TMMK would not go ahead with its protest on September 30.

He said former Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswam­i had said in 2017 that life convicts would be released, but there were no Muslim prisoners on the list. “After the DMK came to power, I raised the issue again in the Assembly on September 8, 2021. Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said 700 life convicts would be released on C.N. Annadurai’s birth anniversar­y, and a government order was issued in this regard. But it came to light that the release of the Muslim convicts was not possible. So, we met the Chief Minister, who formed a committee to examine the issue. On July 9, the TMMK picketed the Coimbatore Central Prison. We also announced a protest in front of the Secretaria­t for September 30. But the government has now recommende­d the release of the 49 life convicts on Anna’s birth anniversar­y (September 15). So, we will not go ahead with the protest,” he said.

“I urge the Governor to release the 49 life convicts immediatel­y. According to Articles 161 and 72 of the Constituti­on, the State government has the power to reduce a jail term and grant a pardon,” he said.

“Gopal Godse, brother of Nathuram Godse, who assassinat­ed Mahatma Gandhi, was released, thanks to the pardon granted by the Maharashtr­a government. Even the three convicts in the Dharmapuri bus burning case, in which three college girls were killed, were released during the previous AIADMK government. We want public pardons to be granted without bias. The Governor must consent to the recommenda­tion,” he said.

According to him, there are 36 Muslim life convicts in all, and 20 of them are among the 49 convicts whose release has been recommende­d. “If the Governor doesn’t consent to the recommenda­tion by September 15, we will launch legal action and protests,” he said.

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