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Killers Befriended Me to Keep Track of Indira, Says Rahul

On the 30th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, as the country refocuses on an event that changed Indian history, many of the events, including the assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi in its aftermath, and the horrific anti-Sikh riots that followed her death at the hand of her own security guards are being revisited.

Published: 07th June 2014 07:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th June 2014 07:23 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: On the 30th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, as the country refocuses on an event that changed Indian history, many of the events, including the assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi in its aftermath, and the horrific anti-Sikh riots that followed her death at the hand of her own security guards are being revisited.

Grandson of Indira, Rahul, who relived some of the personal trauma at the pre-election AICC Jaipur conclave in 2012, in private reminiscences with his close aides opened up on a few strands he had never revealed before. This was in the run up to the partial public disclosure.

Shared by one of those present, it appears as a few riveting facts from the debris of a frightened 14-year-old boy’s memory. Indira’s assassination nearly five months after the cataclysmic storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar was a direct consequence of that political decision of hers. But for her immediate family, this national event has been a private nightmare.

In his emotional speech at the Congress party’s Jaipur conclave, Rahul had let on a few details. Especially about how the two bodyguards, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, assassins-in-waiting, were friendly with the young Rahul and would play badminton with him.

But he had more that he did not disclose at the public meeting. From Rahul’s revelations, it seems quite likely that the two had deliberately befriended the young boy as part of a plan.

The day of the assassination, Rahul recalled, according to a close aide who was present, he clearly remembers the sudden commotion in school. The only words he recalls were maar daala, maar daala — and Rahul said, as they were rushed home in a daze — he was hazy on who had been killed.

Perhaps it was those two friendly Sikh bodyguards, Rahul had thought, his mind in a whirl. It was only at home that the full enormity of the event struck him — his grandmother, the Prime Minister of India, had been gunned down by two figures he had taken to be nice, friendly people.

But there was more. Later, as they were still struggling to cope with the trauma, he said he remembered a few things. Having never been made public before, it offers a fuller, and chilling, picture of an assassination plan on the drawing board, being drawn and redrawn.

Beant and Satwant, Rahul recalled, not only would play badminton with him, they would direct at him what he thought to be casual, friendly questions. When does the family have dinner? Where does Indira go after dinner -- to the study or to her bedroom? Where exactly did she sleep? Where does everyone else sleep?

What’s more, even a bigger attack on the whole family could have been on the anvil. Like a Sheikh Mujibur-style assassination, in which the founder-president of Bangladesh was felled along with his wife and three sons.



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