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Rajiv's daughter meets conspirator in prison

The daughter of assassinated Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi on Tuesday confirmed she had met one of the people behind her father's murder.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said meeting Nalini Sriharan at her prison helped her come to terms with the killing of her father by a suicide bomber in 1991.

"I would like to say it was a purely personal visit that I undertook completely on my own initiative," Vadra said in a rare statement to the media.

"I do not believe in anger, hatred and violence and I refuse to allow it any power over my life," the 35-year-old mother of two said.

"Meeting with Nalini Sriharan was my way of coming to peace with the violence and loss that I have experienced," she added. The meeting, which took place on March 19 in southern Tamil Nadu state's Vellore prison, came to light after a newspaper reported that a lawyer had sought details of it under India's right to information act.

Rajiv was assassinated on May 21, 1991, during an election rally in Tamil Nadu's Sriperumbudur town by a woman suicide bomber said by New Delhi to be a member of Sri Lanka's Tiger separatists.

Nalini was one of the several people arrested in the aftermath of the assassination and sentenced to death by a special court seven years later.

The death sentence was commuted to life in prison following the intervention of Rajiv's Italian-born widow, Sonia Gandhi, who now heads India's ruling Congress party. The Tamil Tiger separatists have never admitted to being directly involved with the assassination, while some senior leaders of the group have described it as "tragic."

According to Nalini's lawyer, S. Doraiswamy, Vadra "wanted to know who killed Rajiv Gandhi and why?" But Nalini "did not know anything about the conspiracy, what was the reason behind the killing," as she learned about the plot only minutes before the assassination, Doraiswamy told CNN-IBN news channel. AFP

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