DMK government is planning to release the Muslim convicts after Muslim outfits-political parties met CM Stalin and appealed to reconsider the cases of 38 Muslim convicts serving their sentence in various prisons across the state.
In the wake of demands for premature release of Muslim convicts, particularly the 1998 Kovai serial bomb blasts convicts, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin, on December 24, announced the constitution of a committee under a retired High Court judge to recommend the premature release of life convicts.
Seven hundred life convicts will be released on the birth anniversary of late former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai on September 15, Chief Minister M. K. Stalin announced in the assembly in September this year.
A collective of 23 outfits, including The Federation of Muslims organization, political parties, comprising TMMK, MMK, PFI, SDPI and others, met the CM Stalin on November 29 and appealed to the government to reconsider the cases of 38 Muslim convicts serving their sentence in various prisons across the state. Of them, 17 were involved in the Coimbatore serial blasts. The delegation, led by Maulana P A Kajha Mohinudeen Baqavi, met CM M. K. Stalin to convey their concern and urged him to consider the premature release of their men.
The DMK Govt allegedly submitted a list of prisoners, including Muslim prisoners, to the Governor this year, who outrightly rejected the list and asked for a revised one. Reports said some convicts were released this year.
A state-level panel headed by the Director-General of Police-Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services (DGP-DGP-CS) would make recommendations to the government as per the guidelines. Subject to conditions, the premature release is open to life convicts, though it cannot be claimed as a matter of right. It is learnt that there are over 3,000 life convicts in Tamil Nadu.
Eligibility factors for consideration of premature release of convicts by authorities are broadly divided into two parts under the scheme. The first is applicable to convicts who have completed ten years of actual imprisonment, and the second is for those who have undergone 20 years of incarceration. The government is planning to release the convicts on September 15, 2022, which marks the 113th birth anniversary of Annadurai, a Dravidian ideologue and the founder of DMK.
An official statement from the government release said TN CM has set up a six-member panel led by the retired judge to recommend the premature release of life convicts. They will be released on humanitarian grounds following rules and guidelines as per the apex court's orders. The panel comprises directors of mental health, medical education, chief probation officer of the prisons department, psychologist and a senior advocate specialized in criminal procedure law, inspector general of the prisons, and correctional services.
"The panel, comprising mental health expert, chief probation officer of the prison department, psychologist, medical education director, advocate with expertise in criminal procedure code and IG of prisons and correctional services (member secretary) will be headed by a retired judge of the Madras High Court, Justice N Authinathan," said the release.
Though minorities are the main vote bank for DMK, it is unclear whether the government will push for their early release.