Chennai: Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict and LTTE member Murugan alias Sriharan from Sri Lanka began his fast-unto-death in Vellore prison on Friday in a bid to attain Jeeva samadhi declaring that he would continue his fast till his plea for release is considered. “He had been on a minimum diet until Thursday and on Friday he stopped taking any food,” a senior jail official told this newspaper confirming that Murugan, is ‘trying to end his life or merge with the absolute in physical form by being in a meditative state’. When last heard Vellore prison officials were trying to persuade him not to go ahead with the Jeeva samadhi plan.
It may be noted that Murugan, who had turned more spiritual in the last few years, had submitted a petition on July 19 to the Vellore prison superintendent saying that he would desist intake of food from August 18 to ‘attain’ Jeeva samadhi, a practice said to have used by hermits and sages in the past. Murugan is a life-convict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and had spent more than 26 years in jail so far, without even getting a parole. Murugan’s wife Nalini, who is also a convict, had approached the high court seeking parole to attend her daughter’s wedding.
There are seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, namely, Perarivalan, Murugan, Shantan, Robert Pais, Nalini, Jayakumar and Ravichandran. Nalini was initially awarded death sentence, which was later converted to life imprisonment by the state government. Besides her, four others, including her husband Murugan were sentenced to death and three others to a life term by the Supreme Court for their role in the assassination of the former prime minister on May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbadur by LTTE suicide bomber Dhanu. The apex court later citing an inordinate delay in disposing of their mercy petitions commuted the death sentence of the other three. No convict in Rajiv assassination case was given parole by the jail official from the day they were lodged in prison after conviction. Only two convicts got paroles based on a court order.