Should Nalini be released?

September 22, 2009

(UPDATE: Media reports say Nalini Sriharan may soon be freed)

Nalini Sriharan is currently serving a life sentence for her role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Part of Nalini’s plea is that she does not expect to live long due to her deteriorating health after spending nearly two decades in prison.

Nalini, her husband and two others were sentenced to death for conspiring to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

But her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment at the pleading of Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress and widow of Rajiv, so that Nalini’s young daughter would not be orphaned.

Priyanka Gandhi met Nalini in jail last year and later said the meeting helped her come to terms with her father’s loss.

The Gandhi family appears to have made peace with Nalini.

Should the country also respond in kind?

Can her case be treated as punishment intended for reform rather than retribution?

On Sunday, media reports said Nalini had earned a post-graduate degree in computer applications, topping the course among jail inmates who appeared for the examination in Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil Nadu government has said it will decide on Nalini’s case after consulting the union government.

Should Nalini be released?

(PHOTO: Nalini [R] seen in a court in the southern Indian city of Chengalpattu in this June 15,1991 file photo)


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No, she should not be released. She committed an heinous crime and must serve the full term of her punishment.

Posted by Naveen | Report as abusive

Excuse me, but why? Why is she special? She is just another murderer who is responsible for the death of 20+ other people. Why should justice work differently for different people? Force feed her if she doesn’t end her hunder strike. Thank you very much.

Posted by GS | Report as abusive

I don’t think the 2 earlier comments are based on facts. She has completed her full term of the punishment in 2005 and for political reasons she has been kept in the jail there after. Once if someone completed the full term, he should be freed.

Posted by Raju Cherian | Report as abusive

wow….now Afzal guru and Ajmal Kasab and numerous other terrorists can follow suit and apply the same tactic….what the country has become with spineless leaders elected by spineless people

Posted by Sunny | Report as abusive

I can understand she being spared the death sentence, but my leniency ends there. I cannot understand one bit of the logic behind releasing someone who killed our prime minister while he was in office!! India would definitely have been in an entirely different position internally and globally if Rajiv Gandhi had completed his term in office.

Posted by George | Report as abusive

As per indian judiciary double punishment is not permitted. She served more than alloted punishment. even comparitivly higher criminals has pardoned in the name political leaders every year. Apart from, the victim family has pardoned the convicts, then what is necessary to hold the accused in custody?.In my view it is cruel.let the gandhi`s family is great.

Posted by k.anandan | Report as abusive

In my view she can be released. She is already in jail for 19 years. Yes, she did a big mistake. Everybody are criminals… Over 95% of our politicians are criminals. Most of them are having court cases even. But they are happily spending their life. When compared to these people, Nalini is far better. Also Rajiv Gandhi is not a clear politician. He did lots of corruptions.

Posted by Kannan | Report as abusive

Whatz this fuss about? This is like the story of Camel kicking the master out of the tent. She should be thankful to have been spared the gallows. What does then Life imprisonment really mean then??? I think most people in India are not aware how the justice is meeted out to people in heniuos crimes in developed countries, it is straight forward… No dilly dallying after the sentence is read out. We just keep wasting our energies on worthless things!!! Why then hell she is being given a nice media coverage???

Posted by Praveen | Report as abusive

A very thought provoking blog. Got me thinking whether she should be released or not. Could’nt come up with a stand on it though.

Posted by r | Report as abusive

It’s more on the line of politics than anything else! Converting her death sentence to life imprisonment itself was not right. Only if they had acted right in the past today one would have spared this high drama. Authorities need to understand that coming to terms between people is not same as coming to terms at nation level. I feel its second chance that leader have to correct earlier mistake, they should bring back death sentence to her and set a RIGHT example. Going soft on such people will only encourage others.

Posted by Santosh | Report as abusive

It is very sad fact that the DMK Chief minister of late let out all the Coimbatore Bombing terrorist’s just to get the Islamic vote. This has had a very negative effect and some people today are no longer afraid of the law of the land.

Yesterday DMK Party supported workers at M/s. Pricol have in cold blood brutally Killed the VP Mr George in his office, The news in town is that DMK leaders are planing to take over/ buy out M/s Pricol.

Nalani can rot in Jail for what she did. She ought to complete her full term of her punishment.

Posted by Rajesh | Report as abusive

According to the law if it is a lifer then she is done with otherwise the death penalty should’ve been carried out to maitain the rigidness of the legal system and gravity of the crime.

Posted by nijith | Report as abusive

Gandhi said kill the evil inside and not the evil doer. She should be released in true spirit of Gandhism by the followers of the religion. This law however, should be applicable only in case of death of Congressis, like sharia laws are applicable in case of Muslims in India.

Posted by Rohit | Report as abusive

Probably she should be released and made chief minister of some state as is the general practice. When will we ever take a strong step and hang such terrorists, it is not about Rajiv Gandhi but the tens of people who also were killed by the bomb blast. Stop publicising her as if she is mother theresa for gods sake she is a terrorist, just hang her.

Posted by Amit Kumar | Report as abusive

She should not be spared for no rhyme or reason. She has done the blunder of killing innocent people, amongst whom there were even children. Her act is nothing less than an unpardonable sin, and she doesn’t deserve anything even close to mercy! Her plea is super selfish, on she is using motherhood as a platform. Had she really respected that, the lives of those innocent children would have been spared.


Posted by Vish | Report as abusive

i strongly rejected because she had done major blunder….. she must be hanged …… this is example for another ………. don’t release her…..

Posted by sasikumar | Report as abusive

Let her go!!!!!!!!!

Posted by shara | Report as abusive

no.people commiting such henous crime on fellow human beings should never be is not done in most liberal is only in india like coimbatore bombers released to enhance vote bank politics.

Posted by anant | Report as abusive

When she doesnt show any mercy while killing then why are our leaders acting smart for saving her.

Posted by Nagesh | Report as abusive

Main objection is “Part of Nalini’s plea is that she does not expect to live long due to her deteriorating health after spending nearly two decades in prison.”

Is our prisons so bad? I am hearing this comment for the first time – a VIP prisoner who is maintained to show the world that we follow the outdated British system of Justice complains. Ask any political person or criminal person who knows how to manipulate the system

We hanged Godse after following the due process of Law. In our country we have hanged a number of persons without mercy even though their sons and daughter have become orphans, wife has become widow, companions were left sad. In Muslim country, they take blood money and allow the perpetrator of the crime to go free.

Paraphrasing what an Israeli PM said- ” The day Arabs lay done arms there will be peace ; The day Israel lays down its arms, there will be no Israel – You know where to substitute Terrorist and India.

God is there, but is He watching the fun?

Posted by Konda | Report as abusive

I am not in favour of the death penalty for any criminal. As for releasing the killer of an Indian Prime Minister, the big question is — has Nalini ‘reformed’ after 18 long years in jail? On the other hand, the plight of her young daughter also has to be taken into consideration. Not an easy decision to make.

Posted by Tony Tharakan | Report as abusive

Going on hunger strike itself makes it evident that given an opportunity, she can still try to meet her hidden unaccomplished goals may be harder than what she was punished for. While humanitarian feeling has its own importance, lenient view can be a costlier affair for the Nation.

Posted by Yogesh | Report as abusive

I am not in favour of the death penalty, however I do believe Nalini needs to be punished. Her daughter is now
a young lady, if Nalini has already served 18 years in prison. So that argument is no longer relevant.

Nalini should continue serving her sentence.

Posted by Debra Hindley | Report as abusive

Yes, she deserves to be released. If she had been from Tamilnadu or India she would have been released because of vote bank politics.

Posted by Suresh | Report as abusive

Hi everyone, should Nalini be released umm my view on this after considering certain facts and consequence of the case…. i strongly recommend her release Reasons,

Nalini was one of the prime accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, but the real killers Sivarasan, Suba and Dhanu who were already dead. What is the real motive for Nalini to be prime accused. Why she was not part of assassination (evident is that she is alive). What made her escape from the scence in the last minute while rest of her company are rest in peace. ( their would be some reasons behind which everyone should thing of it)

Now it is been almost 18 to 19 years in jail, i think it is more than enough for an individual in a country like india.

Please note she tops MCA exam, she is more of asset when compare to few criminals in India.

punishment is way for an individual to be aware that the mistake should not be repeated. but punishment should be life at any cost.

I think it is not threat for India to release Nalini, when compared to Kasab.

Posted by Gururaj | Report as abusive

please release her, now…

Posted by leonraines | Report as abusive

Nalini was sentensed to life term which the supreme court of India clarified as sentence to be served till death. Nalini was proved by Police in a court of law to have played a key role in Killing Rajiv Gandhi. She had no mercy on Rajiv. Why should India show mercy to her? Infact she should have been hanged. The commutation of her death sentense is not actually constitutionally valid, you will know about it, if you carefully study how the death sentence was commuted.

Posted by S V RAO | Report as abusive

Nalini committed horrible act, still she should be released. Her people — Lankan Tamils — have been through harrowing time. If it is possible for us to understand what made her do what she did. If may be possible to forgive her.

Posted by Kapil | Report as abusive

I strongly feel she should be released. The reason being there must be some pressure or unfamiliar circumstances under which she must have committed such a deadly crime but after spending 18 years in prison, its quite a long time served, afterall she is a mother of a young lady, she has complete right to demand freedom after such a long prison stay. Sometimes people do commit severe mistakes but forgiveness is the virtue of the wise. Forgive her, let her free.

Posted by satyavrat | Report as abusive

Its strange how the perpetrators of terror and violence resort to democratic means when it comes to their self interests. One must not forget that Nalini assassinated India’s former prime minister. Had this happened in any other country even the debate on Nalini would not have started. Releasing Nalini would set a precedent for other terrorists like Kasab and weaken India’s stand on terrorism. Let her spent her life behind the bars for the horrendous act she committed.

Posted by Rahul Mishra | Report as abusive

To my view,is every one in india who done activies against India was punished.if so then she should not be dynasty are making drama,as if they were good.we have to look out motive behind this assassination.if one doing crime,what induce to do this that we have to look out.error done by former pri ( raji)that let to the cause of his fate.he is nomore then his family have to be acquited for his crime.what has done two decades before was deserved in the court of truth..

Posted by Tamilan | Report as abusive

Never ! Her and her collegues, ill-actions have changed the course of Indian history. Rajiv as PM was charting a progressive path for India back in 80’s, things today may be different (better or worse we can discuss later) if these group of people had not decieded to kill him to make a point. a Point which we still can’t understand.
She was rightly given death penalty. Its only by grace of the president that she lives. Every day of her life is a gift by Indians, whom she has wronged. She doesnt not deserve this. So she should remain in prison for her actions.

Posted by IceMan | Report as abusive

Nalini must be released.
She has been punished for 18 years now. It is more than enough.
Valmiki was a dacoit and went on to write the Ramayana.
Nalini has also completed MCA – she can do wonders if given a chance.
To err is human to forgive divine.

Posted by Ajay | Report as abusive

What kind of a message are we sending out if we release the murderer of a the Prime Minister of the country? ITs all about perception management at the end of the day isnt it? especially now, since we are very much a part of the war on terror.

Posted by MihirS | Report as abusive

What is all this fuss about? Why are we wasting our energies in worthless arguments? Can’t we talk about corruption in India? It takes more lives every year.
She got a better deal than she deserves period. Leave her there to serve rest of the sentence. Everybody who is in jail, on death row or life imprisonment has family, kids, parents. They all deserve mercy but would that serve the society? No. Society needs a strong deterrent in place so more innocent lives are not wasted.

Posted by Seattledude | Report as abusive

yatra naryatu poojante….tatra devta raamantee

yes let her go,,… please

Posted by jagdeo | Report as abusive