Nalini’s ‘Indefinite’ Fast Enters Second Day

A woman convicted for assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has gone on an “indefinite” fast to insist on her release from prison.

In jail in Tamil Nadu, Nalini Sriharan said that she had been eligible for early release since 2005.

In May 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomb at an election rally. India held Shri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels responsible for the assassination.

Sriharan, one of the four people initially awarded death sentence for being part of the assassination squad, was later given life term following a plea for clemency by Rajiv Gandhi’s widow and Congress Party president, Sonia Gandhi.

In the attack, at least 14 other people – including the suicide bomber – were also killed.

She has served more than 18 years in Vellore prison. She claims that she is only required to serve 14 years in prison before being entitled to premature release under Indian laws.

Sriharan began her “indefinite” fast on Monday morning, demanding that an advisory board to decide on her release be set up as soon as possible.

In 2006, the Tamil Tiger rebels expressed “regret” for the murder of Rajiv Gandhi in a move which correspondents say was a realisation by the rebels that the assassination was a huge mistake.

Last year, Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of the slain prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, met Sriharan in prison.

“I don’t believe in anger or violence and I refuse to let it overpower me. Meeting Nalini (Sriharan) was my way of coming to terms with my father’s death,” Gandhi said after the meeting.

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