Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sanctuary Sunday - In Memoriam, Indira Gandhi

Perhaps this post is better left suited for a Wednesday's Women of Courage writeup. It really felt like a good thing to put up today, although October 31st is the day many parts of the world, including these United States, celebrate Holloween.

On this day in 1984, Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India was gunned down by a pair of Sikh extremists acting in retaliation for the storming of the Sikh holy shrine of the Golden Temple in Amritsar earlier that June.

She is the world's longest serving woman Prime Minister.

The night before her death she told a political rally: "I don't mind if my life goes in the service of the nation. If I die today, every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation."

In the days following the death of the prime minister up to 1,000 people are thought to have died. The army were ordered to go into the cities and quell the violence.

Mrs Gandhi's son, Rajiv, was sworn in as her successor within hours of her death. He went on to win a landslide victory in the general election in December 1984.

On 6 January 1989, Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh were hanged for killing Mrs Gandhi. Balbir Singh was acquitted.

Rajiv Gandhi was himself assassinated by a suicide bomber on 21 May 1991.

Click here for a great article on how things have changed since the Gandhi Era.

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