INDIA – Documentary will offer glimpses of death convict’s life

June 21, 2012 Source : http://www.thehindu.com

The People’s Movement Against Death Penalty, headed by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, is making a documentary that focusses on the life of Perarivalan, the convict facing death penalty in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The one-hour film christened ‘1096, a Symbol of Reformation’, is expected to be screened in the first week of July, barely days ahead of the final hearing in the Supreme Court of the case, in which the three condemned prisoners are seeking relief on the grounds of inordinate delay in disposal of their mercy petitions by the President.

“Perarivalan emerged topper among prison inmates who appeared for the Plus Two examination. The ‘1096’ in the title is a reference to his marks and symbolises his resolve. We want to showcase the achievement of this convict who braved the threat of impending gallows and excelled academically. He has done post-graduation in MCA. The Plus Two appearance was only to facilitate his admission to M.Phil course,” co-producer of the documentary Selvaraj Murugaiyan told The Hindu.

The documentary has short interviews with legal luminaries such as Justice K.T. Thomas, who delivered judgment in the case.

“We have also interviewed police/prison officials, the kin of those who died in the May 21 blast that killed Rajiv Gandhi, and some inmates who knew Perarivalan in Vellore Central Prison.”

Directed by Pragadeeswaran, the documentary will have some original clips of Perarivalan at the time of his arrest or court visits. The effort is also to portray how prisons in Tamil Nadu are providing a conducive environment for inmates to reform.

Asked if the initiative was intended to whip up sympathy for Perarivalan and two other convicts on the death row, Mr. Selvaraj said the film was only a presentation of truth. Every aspect of the documentary would be backed by evidence or interviews of relevant people.

“However, the statements of some of those whom we interviewed might seem to be sympathising with the convicts, but it is their own view. For instance Justice Krishna Iyer says: “Let there be no killing in the name of Rajiv Gandhi. For God’s sake don’t hang them…even Sonia Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi don’t want it, then why…”

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