Singapore, March 11 (The Hindu): Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that he and his sister Priyanka Gandhi have “completely forgiven” the killers of their father Rajiv Gandhi.
During his interaction with Indian Institute of Management (IIM) alumni in Singapore, Mr. Gandhi, when asked if he and his sister Priyanka had forgiven his father’s killers, said: “We were very upset and hurt and for many years we were quite angry. But, somehow, completely…in fact, completely (forgiven).”
“There is a history that when one realises that when these events take place, it’s collision of ideas, forces, confusion. That’s where you get caught. I remember when I saw Mr. Prabhakaran on TV lying dead, I got two feelings – one was why they are humiliating this man in this way.
“And second was I felt really bad for him and for his kids and I did that because I understood deeply what it meant to be on the other side of that thing. So to me when I see violence regardless of who it is, I know that there is a human being behind that, there is a family behind that, a kid crying behind that. I have been through a lot of pain to get this and it is something I consider very valuable. I find it difficult to hate people, even my sister does,” he said.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a woman suicide bomber of LTTE, the terrorist group in Sri Lanka led by Prabhakaran, on May 21, 1991 at an election rally in Tamil Nadu.
Mr. Gandhi, who is on a five-day trip to the Southeast Asian countries, also said: “We knew that my father was going to die. We knew that my grandmother was going to die. In politics, when you mess with the wrong forces, and if you stand for something, you will die. That’s pretty clear.”
Asked if he thinks he had a privileged life being the son and grandson of former prime ministers, he said, “It depends which side of the coin you are…of course there are a number of privileges where I sit, but I would not say that I haven’t been through a rough ride.”
“I was 14 when my grandmother was assassinated. I used to play badminton with those who killed my grandmother. After that my father was killed. So you live in a particular environment…surrounded by 15 guys from morning noon and night, I don’t thinks that’s a privilege. I think that’s quite a hard thing to deal with,” he said in a video shared by the Congress party on its Twitter handle.
Harithra Asks Rahul To Padon Her Parents
Harithra, the 22-year-old daughter of Nalini and Murugan who are serving a sentence for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi wrote this in a gmail chat with The Hindu on February 21, 2014 from her hostel in London:
“I would like to thank Sonia Gandhi for reducing my mom’s sentence and Priyanka Gandhi for forgiving her. I feel terrible for her father’s loss,” said Harithra, the 22-year-old daughter of Nalini and Murugan who are serving a sentence for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. She wrote this in a gmail chat with The Hindu on February 21, 2014. from the university accommodation she shares.
“I do know what exactly it feels like missing your loved ones. I [have] been going through the same pain without both my parents. I believe my parents are innocent — they have suffered 23 years. Not just them, but me too, [despite] not having done anything wrong! I kindly request Rahul Gandhi to please forgive my parents and let them be free — for my sake.”
Ms. Harithra, who did not wish to disclose the city in the United Kingdom where she is studying nor the name of the University where she is currently pursuing a degree, told The Hindu that she was “very upset to read the news this morning of a [court] stay against my parents release”.
“It was awful. I was excited that they were finally gonna (sic) be with me. Today, it has just gone away,” Ms. Harithra said.
She wanted to give her parents the message that she loved them very much. “Please be strong and take care. I will always be waiting for you,” she said.
Ms. Harithra came to the U.K. in 2006. She did her schooling in Scotland and moved to England for her university. She has not seen her parents since then, but writes to them every month and receives letters from them every two weeks.
If she had three wishes what would they be? In response, Ms. Harithra wrote: “1. Have my parents back and live with them. 2. I wish Rajiv Gandhi had not been murdered and [had] lived happily with his family too 3. I wish nobody dies in assassinations! We live in peace and harmony.”
Ms. Haritra wants to do a Ph.D. in medical physics, and not in medicine. “I can’t stand blood,” she said.
“TBH (to be honest), I don’t understand politics,” Ms. Harithra said. She added: “Thanks each and everybody who supported reducing my parents hanging to live sentence! It meant the world to me having them alive.” She also requested support for their release. “I have been suffering without them for the past 22 years,” she said.
(The featured picture at the top shows Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka)