Death Anniversary: Known and rarely known facts about Rajiv Gandhi and his assassination

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New Delhi, May 21: Rajiv Gandhi, who was the sixth and youngest Prime Minister of India. Following his mother Indira Gandhi's assassination, Rajiv Gandhi had become the prime minister in 1984.

Massive sympathy votes had helped him to win the election in 1984 with big mandate.

Rajiv Gandhi

Rarely known facts about Rajiv Gandhi:

  • Rajiv Gandhi was born in Mumbai on Aug 20, 1944. He was born to Indira Gandhi and Fereoze Gandhi.
  • Soon after his birth, he was taken from Mumbai to Prayag where his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru had seen him for the first time.
  • Nehru was made a captive by British government and his car, which had taken him to prison, passed by Prayag.
  • When the car passed by them, Indira Gandhi put him in her hands and "thrust her forward" so that Nehru could see them.
  • Rajiv Gandhi during his childhood was very close to Mahatma Gandhi.
  • On Jan 29, 1948, Rajiv Gandhi had put some flowers at Mahatma Gandhi's feet at which Bapu said that flowers were kept at the feet of a dead person only.
  • On the next day, i.e. Jan 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse.
  • Rajiv Gandhi was sent to London in 1961 and stayed at Cambridge till 1965.
  • However, he did not complete his degree and returned to India in 1966.
  • Later he started his career as a professional pilot in India
  • Unlike his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi was reluctant to join politics.
  • However, he was forced to join politics following Sanjay Gandhi's death in a plane crash in 1980.
  • He contested from his brother's constituency Amethi and became a member of the Parliament.

The most shocking and controversial statement by Rajiv Gandhi:

Rajiv Gandhi shocked the world with his statement, "When a giant tree falls, the earth below shakes."

He uttered the shocking statement during the infamous Sikh riots in 1984 following the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards at her residence.

Scene after Rajiv Gandhi's assassination

Rajiv Gandhi's assassination:

  • During election campaigns in 1991, Rajiv Gandhi reached Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.
  • Sriperumbudur was not in the agenda of Tamil Nadu Congress party. However, Rajiv Gandhi went there to attend a rally.
  • Sources claimed that he was warned against going to Tamil Nadu but he refused to pay heed to the warnings by intelligence group.
  • The then Governor of Tamil Nadu, Bhism Narayan Singh, broke his official protocol and twice warned Rajiv Gandhi about the threat to his life if he visited the state.
  • Media reports claimed that Rajiv Gandhi had travelled to Chennai leaving his security officer OP Sagar back in Andhra Pradesh.

Plan to assassination Rajiv Gandhi:

  • Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a militant organization from Sri Lanka, hatched the assassination plan to kill Rajiv Gandhi.
  • Thenmozhi Rajaratnam alias Dhanu killed him during a suicide bomb blast.
  • Dhanu, the assassin, greeted Rajiv Gandhi with a garland.
  • She then bent down to touch his feet and detonated an RDX explosive-laden belt tucked below her dress.
  • Rajiv along with 14 others, which include his assassin, was killed in the blast.
  • The photographer, who filmed the entire episode, was also killed in the blast. The camera and film was found later at the site.

Reasons behind Rajiv's assassination:

  • LTTE was irked by Rajiv Gandhi's decision of sending Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka.
  • IPKF helped the government of the country during the Sri Lankan civil war.
  • Many also claimed that Rajiv Gandhi's interview to Sunday Magazine in 1990 had promoted LTTE to kill him.
  • Rajiv Gandhi in the interview had said that he would send IPKF again to Sri Lanka to disarm LTTE if he comes back to power.
  • Rajiv Gandhi also defended the accord signed between Sri Lanka and India.
  • However, another conspiracy theory was reported.
  • Justice JS Verma Commission, which was formed to probe the security lapses, claimed local Congress leaders had disrupted strict security arrangements before Rajiv arrived at the venue.

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