'I forgive,' says Rahul Gandhi on his father Rajiv's killers

·2-min read

(Eds: Adds details, background) Puducherry, Feb 17 (PTI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the killing of his father Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 brought him tremendous pain but he nursed no anger or hatred towards those responsible for it and he pardoned them.

During an interaction the Congress MP had with students of a state-run women's college here, a pupil posed,'your father was killed by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) what are your feelings about these people? and he answered by saying violence cannot take away anything.

'I don't have anger or hatred towards anybody.Of course, I lost my father and for me it was a very difficult time,' he said, adding, it was similar to having one's heart severed.

'I felt trememdous pain, but I don't feel anger, I don't feel any hatred or any anger. I forgive,' he said to rounds of applause.

To the next question related to his political innings despite losing his father and grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, he said, 'violence cannot take away anything from you... my father is alive in me...my father is talking through me.' Gandhi interacted with students of Bharathidasan Government College for Women and asked them to not address him as 'sir' and instead call him 'Rahul,' while most addressed him as Rahul 'Anna' (elder brother).

He earlier had a dialogue with people from the fishermen community here.

Answering a question on his friends and 'girl friends,' he said he had plenty of friends including those both with political background and people who shared similar interests.

When the student repeated the question on girl friends, he said, 'we leave that for another day.' To a student who said she could not pursue engineering though she loved it, he advised her to chase her dream and assured her of support and he would speak to her parents if she wanted.

Though most parties supported the release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) had opposed it.

Rajiv Gandhi was killed on May 21, 1991 by a woman suicide bomber at Sriperumbudur near Chennai in a poll rally.

The LTTE was defeated in the 2009 civil war in Sri Lanka.

TNCC chief K S Alagiri had said a few months ago that if the Rajiv case case convicts were to be set free, a demand would arise for the release of all 'murder convicts' who had spent over 25 years in prison.

'If the court announces the release of seven Rajiv case convicts, we will accept it. However, political parties rooting for their release is unacceptable,' Alagiri had said.

The Tamil Nadu government had in 2018 recommended to Governor Banwarilal Purohit to release them and the ruling AIADMK and main opposition DMK, both of whom strongly support freeing them, have had verbal duel over the matter. PTI VGN BN BN BN