It was a moment of rejoice for three death row convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case today at the high-security Central Prison here when authorities broke the news of Supreme Court commuting their death sentences to life terms.
If the dawn of the day brought anxious moments for Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, their joy knew no bounds when they were informed about the apex court giving them a new lease of life.
The trio, lodged in the prison for over two decades, woke up a little early by 5.30 am and were seen gripped by anxiety. By 6 am, they were out of their cells as usual, jail officials said.
"We informed them about the ruling. They are very happy," Vellore Prison Additional Superintendent of Police C Krishnakumar told PTI.
Other jail inmates greeted the trio as they came to know about the judgement.
Accepting the greetings, Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan thanked the apex court, human rights activists, leaders of political parties and the state government which had sought the commutation of death penalty.
Soon after coming to power in 2011 assembly polls, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa got a resolution passed in the Assembly demanding the commutation of their death sentence.
Jubilation notwithstanding, it was just another day in the jail for the trio, who were engaged in their daily work like book binding.
Their working hours are between 7.30 am and 11.30 am and between 2.30 pm and 4.30 pm, the officials said.
Perarivalan's mother Arputhammal met her son in the jail, where security has been beefed up following the judgement, with additional police put up at certain entry points, officials said.