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Daily History

October 31 1984 Prime minister Indira Ghandi of India is assassinated


On October 31st 1984, Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of India, was assassinated in New Delhi by two of her own bodyguards.

Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, both Sikhs, emptied their guns into Gandhi as she walked to her office from an adjoining bungalow.

Although the two assailants immediately surrendered, they were both shot in a subsequent scuffle, and Beant died.

Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, attempted to forge a unified nation out of the many religious, ethnic, and cultural factions that existed under British rule until 1949.

His daughter, Indira Gandhi (no relation to Mohandas Gandhi), rose to power in 1966, fighting many of the same problems as her father had.

Her own political career was a roller coaster, from the highs following India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971 to the lows of being thrown out of office in 1977 after declaring a state of emergency in 1975, during which time she suspended civil liberties and jailed her political opponents.

Although many criticised her for being authoritarian, the majority of the population supported her because of her extensive social programs.

In 1980, Gandhi became prime minister again, enjoying fairly widespread popularity. However, in June 1984, she ordered an army raid on a Sikh temple in Punjab to flush out armed Sikh extremists, setting off a series of death threats.

Due to the fear of assassination, Beant Singh, her longtime bodyguard, was to be transferred because he was a Sikh.

However, Gandhi personally rescinded the transfer order because she trusted him after his many years of service. Obviously, this was a fatal mistake for both of them.

Satwant Singh, who survived to stand trial, was convicted in 1986 and executed in 1989.

Following Gandhi’s assassination, riots broke out in New Delhi. More than 1,000 innocent Sikhs were killed in indiscriminate attacks over the course of two days.

Gandhi’s son, Rajiv, succeeded her as prime minister. He served as Prime Minister from 1984-1989, before being assassinated in 1991.

This Day In History

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “October 31 1984 Prime minister Indira Ghandi of India is assassinated

  1. I think that was what happen with Olof Palme too – somebody very close to him .. only ones that knew he hadn’t any bodyguards that evening was his bodyguards. This was a sad day for the world too … thanks for sharing.

    Posted by viveka | October 31, 2012, 07:07
  2. Reblogged this on The mind is an unexplored country. and commented:
    The anniversary of Indira Ghandi’s assassination, marked by Craig Hill.

    Posted by Gregoryno6 | October 31, 2012, 07:29
  3. So nice a coverage.

    Posted by neelkanth | October 31, 2012, 15:47
  4. Nice article. It was a sad day.

    P.S: India was under the British rule until 1947 not 1949

    Posted by Sapna | October 31, 2012, 22:14

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