Harithra’s (Nalini-Murugan’s daughter) interview to BBC Tamil: English translation

http://www.bbc.co.uk/tamil/multimedia/2011/08/110827_murugandaughter.shtml

I was born in jail and grew up there. My grandmother took me away to Sri Lanka and took care of me.

I only saw my parents once, when I was 12 years old. They would often write to me, telling me that they stayed alive for my sake. Though I had such loving parents, I never had the chance to live with them. I was happy that they were at least alive. It feels terrible to have even that little happiness snatched away from me. It is extremely cruel to not have one’s parents and I pray to God that this does not happen to anyone. I don’t know what else to say.

I have applied for a visa to India where many people have voiced their support for my parents. I have also given a petition to the chief minister to spare my father’s life. Because my nationality is Sri Lankan, I have been told that it will take 15 days for my visa to come through. I plan to go to India once it comes through. Also, I heard that my father’s lawyers will file a case on Monday. That gives me a little consolation. Seeing all this news on television is very painful for me.

In truth, I don’t really know my parents. When I met them for the first time, I was very very happy. I felt, Is this my mother? Is this my father? I have missed them all these days. They would always encourage me through their letters and tell me to read and so on. It is for their sake that I work so hard to study. Their life is not in their hands. I only have the small belief that my life at least would make them happy.

I am going to study medicine. At present, I am studying biomedical sciences. It is my mother’s wish that I become a doctor.

As a daughter, I feel that my mother did no wrong. I wish the world believes this too. My mother regrets that she got trapped in this manner for no fault of hers, so she feels that at least her daughter should be educated and in a position to help other people. This is my mom’s wish from a young age. I am going to study medicine. When I said this to my parents, they felt very proud that I was going to live a life that was denied to them. They said that they derived happiness from the fact that I was going to help others. They said that their only source of happiness was the life I was going to lead. Their letters to me are very sentimental. Reading all that, I would feel very sad that I am missing such good parents. What to do? I think I am very unlucky.

I last saw them in 2005. After that I tried to go and visit them, but India denied me a visa to visit from Sri Lanka. So, I was unable to go. I think you might have read about it, my parents went on a hunger-strike requesting that I should be given a visa. Then there was a high court stay order, but at that time, I was studying here. My parents advised me to finish my studies and become a doctor, saying that it would make them very proud. So I did not go. But they frequently write letters to me and I write back to them. If I do not see their letter, I would feel lost.

As a child, I have missed my parents. I hope everyone understands what it means to not have one’s parents. I have sent a lot of petitions to the chief minister. Even if they are not released, at least let them not be subject to this cruel punishment. I can’t bear it. I cannot even think about it. I request all of you to pray for me. If it is possible, please send a representation to the chief minister. Thanks a lot for all your help. I will be forever grateful to you.

Thank you.

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