India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is asking the Supreme Court to block the release from prison of seven men involved in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu ordered the release of the men on Wednesday, saying they have already served more than 20 years in prison for the crime. The decision sparked angry protests in the national parliament, mainly from members of Mr. Gandhi's Congress Party.
The Supreme Court was expected to respond to the government's petition Thursday afternoon. Gandhi was killed in a suicide attack by an ethnic Tamil, apparently in retaliation for his decision to send peacekeepers to neighboring Sri Lanka, where the separatist Tamil Tigers were engaged in an armed uprising against the government.
Lawmakers from the parliament's ruling Congress Party have strongly protested the decision to release the the convicts.