Mercy pleas: Veerappan's associates should be spared from execution, says widow

Veerappan wife

Widow of forest brigand Veerappan has pleaded that the four associates of her husband, who are on a death row in a landmine blast case, be spared from execution.

"Already my husband has been killed by Tamil Nadu police at Dharmapuri. Now four of his associates are going to be hanged. Please, it should not be carried out," Muthulakshmi said.

She was reacting to reports quoting Balamurugan, General Secretary of People's Union for Civil Liberties, Tamil Nadu, that the mercy pleas of Veerapan's four associates have been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.

Veerappan's elder brother Gnanaprakash, Simon, 'Meesai' Madaian and Pilavendran were sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 2004 in connection with the blast at Palar in Karnataka carried out by the Veerappan gang, in which 22 police personnel were killed.

"It is a shocking news that the four would be hanged since their mercy petitions were rejected by the President", 60-year-old Thangammal, wife of Madaian said.

"My son Maadesh was shot dead by police and my husband is in Belgaum jail. We are in poverty," Thangammal, who is staying with her another son said, adding, she met her husband six month ago in the prison. Then he told me that he will be released within a few months. But all of a sudden I am hearing that he will be hanged. It is like breaking my head with a hammer," she said.

However, K Gopalakrishnan, a former Superintendent of Police, who led the assault team of STF, said "I am happy that though justice was delayed in the case, it has finally come as 22 innocent police personnel have lost their lives and 11

suffered injuries in the blast".

They were earlier sentenced to life by the TADA court in Mysore. But the government moved the Supreme Court, which awarded them the death sentence, he said.

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