Nation pays tributes to Rajiv Gandhi on his Death Anniversary

Leaders across the nation pay tribute to the Former Prime Minister

TNI Bureau: Today marks the 30th Death Anniversary of India’s sixth Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated seven years after his unexpected ascension to the nation’s highest administrative position. He served as the Prime Minister of India from 1984 to 1989. At the age of 40, he became the youngest Indian Prime Minister after his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was assassinated in 1984.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s Thenmozhi Rajaratnam (also known as Kalaivani Rajaratnam or Dhanu) using RDX explosives whilst campaigning for the Sriperumbudur Lok Sabha Congress candidate. The Congress candidate was Uma Gajapati Raju. Rajiv was a big advocate of getting young professionals into politics, and he had gone out of his way to obtain her a ticket.

Neena Gopal, a journalist, had interviewed Rajiv only minutes before he was killed by an LTTE suicide bomber on that dreadful night. In her book, she says “In “The Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi,” Gopal recalls asking him whether he believed his life was in danger. ‘Have you noticed how every time any South Asian leader of any import rises to a position of power or is about to achieve something for himself or his country, he is cut down, attacked, killed, look at Mrs [Indira] Gandhi, Sheikh Mujib…,’ he responded.

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Gopal claims that hundreds of intercepted communications between April 1990 and May 1991 revealed the LTTE’s desire to murder Rajiv. Colonel Hariharan, who had a small contingent of Jaffna Tamils keeping a watchful eye on the LTTE for him, was caught aback when he was handed a tape to listen to, and from what his code-breakers informed him, a scheme to assassinate Rajiv was underway.

In India, the 21st of May has been designated as Anti-Terrorism Day since Gandhi’s death. Rahul Gandhi, son of Rajiv Gandhi, paid respect to his late father on the anniversary of his death at Veer Bhumi. Rahul Gandhi also used Twitter to honour his late father’s legacy. He tweeted a photo with the caption, “Truth, Compassion, and Progress.”

The Indian National Congress party’s official Twitter account also paid tribute to its former leader. The tweet is as follows: “He stood for truth, love & compassion. He believed in the power of our people. He upheld the core values of our great nation. He envisaged an India amongst the world’s best. We pay our heartfelt tribute to our youngest PM, Bharat Ratna Shri Rajiv Gandhi. #RememberingRajivGandhi.”

Politicians from a range of political parties also commemorated and honoured the former Prime Minister.

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