Nov 21, 2016

Rajiv killer Nalini Sriharan pens tell-all: Love, longing, killing

Rajiv Gandhi's assassin Nalini Sriharan is back in news with her tell-all autobiography. In jail for more than 25 years now, the world's longest serving woman prisoner has put together the 500-page book in Tamil that will be released on November

Nalini, who married LTTE operative Sriharan (Murugan) on April 21, 1991 after a brief courtship, was two months pregnant when arrested in connection with the May 21, 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Housed in the special prison for women at Vellore in TN, Nalini is serving her life term along with six other accused.

In her autobiography, she lays bare her childhood, her affair with Murugan, circumstances under which she became witness to the assassination, her five-day run as an outlaw, arrest, torture in custody, birth of her child in jail, conviction and jail life. The climax is her 90-minute secret meeting with Priyanka Gandhi on March 19, 2008, which the world came to know through a TOI report on April 15, 2008.

rajiv gjandi 640x360Not many know it was Mahatma Gandhi who named Nalini's mother as Padmavathi, who was a nurse in a Chennai hospital when Sriharan, a Lankan Tamil, entered their lives while looking for a house on rent. Sivarasan made his entry soon after, since he too hailed from the same area as that of Sriharan. Within days, Sivarasan brought Dhanu, who later acted as the human bomb, and Subha. After the assassination, Nalini would say: "I was surrounded by blood-thirsty wolves."

Maintaining that neither she nor her husband was aware of the assassination plan, Nalini says she told Priyanka that she was a prisoner of circumstances. Priyanka kept asking why her father, "a good man," was murdered. Priyanka was keen to know from her as to who were behind the assassination, but she could not ascertain much, as Nalini herself was not an LTTE operative.