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Assassinations in India’s History

January 28, 1998

Three Indian leaders have been assassinated since the country gained independence from Britain in 1947:

_Mohandas Gandhi, who led the nonviolent campaign for Indian independence, shot on Jan. 30, 1948, by a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi’s overtures to Muslims. The assassin was hanged after a trial that lasted almost two years.

_Indira Gandhi, prime minister for 17 years, shot Oct. 31, 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards after she sent Indian troops to flush separatists from Sikhism’s holiest temple. One of the assassins was killed by other guards, and the second was convicted and hanged. Indira Gandhi was not related to Mohandas Gandhi.

_Indira Gandhi’s son, Rajiv Gandhi, who sent Indian troops to help neighboring Sri Lanka put down an ethnic Tamil uprising during his 1984-89 tenure as prime minister, was killed by a suicide bomber May 21, 1991. Conspirators in the killing, including the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, were convicted today and face sentences ranging from five years in prison to death.

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