Assassination of Indira Gandhi

I do not like carving the world into many segments; We are one world

Indira Gandhi, India

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi Nehru; 19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) was an Indian politician and a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the first and, to date, only female Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. She served as prime minister from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984, making her the second longest-serving Indian prime minister after her father.

As prime minister, Gandhi was known for her political intransigency and unprecedented centralisation of power. She went to war with Pakistan in support of the independence movement and war of independence in East Pakistan, which resulted in an Indian victory and the creation of Bangladesh, as well as increasing India’s influence to the point where it became the sole regional power of South Asia. Citing separatist tendencies, and in response to a call for revolution, Gandhi instituted a state of emergency from 1975 to 1977 where basic civil liberties were suspended and the press was censored. Widespread atrocities were carried out during the emergency. In 1980, she returned to power after free and fair elections. After Gandhi ordered military action in the Golden Temple in Operation Blue Star, her own bodyguards and Sikh nationalists assassinated her on 31 October 1984.

In 1999, Indira Gandhi was named “Woman of the Millennium” in an online poll organised by the BBC. In 2020 Gandhi was named by the Time magazine among world’s 100 powerful women who defined the last century.

Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated at 9:29 a.m. on 31 October 1984 at her residence in Safdarjung Road, New Delhi. She was killed by her Sikh bodyguardsSatwant Singh and Beant Singh in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star. Operation Blue Star was an Indian military action carried out between 1 and 8 June 1984, ordered by Indira Gandhi to remove the Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed followers from the buildings of the Harmandir Sahib complex in Amritsar, Punjab. The collateral damage included the death of many pilgrims, as well as damage to the Akal Takht. The military action on the sacred temple was criticized by Sikhs both inside and outside India.

At about 9:20 a.m. Indian Standard Time, on 31 October 1984, Gandhi was on her way to be interviewed by British actor Peter Ustinov who was filming a documentary for Irish television. She was wearing a saffron saree with a black border, and accompanied by constable Narayan Singh, personal security officer Rameshwar Dayal and personal secretary, R. K. Dhawan. She was walking through the garden of the Prime Minister’s Residence at No. 1 Safdarjung Road in New Delhi towards the neighboring 1 Akbar Road office.

Gandhi passed a wicket gate guarded by Satwant and Beant Singh, and the two men opened fire. Beant fired three rounds into her abdomen from his .38 revolver, then Satwant fired 30 rounds from his Sten submachine gun after she had fallen to the ground. Both men then threw down their weapons and Beant said, “I have done what I had to do. You do what you want to do.” In the next six minutes, Border Police officers Tarsem Singh Jamwal and Ram Saran captured and killed Beant, while Satwant was arrested by Gandhi’s other bodyguards, along with an accomplice trying to escape; he was seriously wounded Satwant Singh was hanged in 1989 with accomplice Kehar Singh.