Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has penned a tell-all 500-page autobiography in Tamil that will be released on November 24.
Nalini, who has been in jail for more than 25 years now, was two months pregnant when she was arrested in connection with the May 21, 1991, assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The longest serving woman prisoner in the world, Nalini is serving her life term along with the six others accused in the special prison for women in Vellore, Tamil Nadu.
In her autobiography, she has narrated horrific incidents of how she was abused during her 50-day ordeal in the custody of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. She claims that she was disrobed, punched in the chest, asked to make love to her husband in front of others, threatened with
gang-rape by policemen, chained and kept in a 5 by 5 room for weeks.
She claimed that she had a hard time in prison when the M. Karunanidhi-led DMK was in power compared to the AIADMK under J. Jayalalithaa. She said jail officials were harsh on her under the DMK regime. In 2006, when the DMK returned to power, they threatened to arrest her daughter Harithra, who is now a doctor in London, if she was not sent to Sri Lanka.
Nalini is a sister of Bhagyanathan, a 25-year-old man from Chennai, was the LTTE’s first local recruit. Then, Nalini used to work for a private firm as a secretary. Padma, her mother, was a nurse. Bhagyanathan’s entire family was soon in the LTTE’s trap, claims Rajiv Gandhi’s biographer Minhaz Merchant in his book.
The plot to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi by the core group members of LTTE was finalised at Nalini’s house. After the assassination, Nalini’s brother and mother were arrested on June 11 but Nalini was on the run with Murugan only to get arrested on June 14 near Villupuram.
Nalini has always claimed that neither she nor her husband were aware of the assassination plot. In 2008 when Priyanka Gandhi met Nalini, she told Priyanka that she was a prisoner of circumstances.
A few years ago, Priyanka Gandhi had said that Gandhi family forgave Nalini and would be happy to see her released.