From Indira Gandhi to JFK: Remembering heads of state, world leaders who were assassinated

Among other heads of state around the world who have been assassinated, include leaders from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the US.

Published: 09th July 2022 07:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th October 2022 05:50 PM   |  A+A-

The murder of Shinzo Abe, who had been Japan's longest-serving leader, stunned the nation and prompted an international outpouring of grief and condemnation..(Photo | AFP, AP)


NEW DELHI: The fatal shooting of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe during a campaign speech on Friday in western Japan has again brought into focus the assassination of several heads of state and top leaders globally, including two from India.

Abe shared a special bond with India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his death, saying, "Today, the whole of India mourns with Japan and we stand in solidarity with our Japanese brothers and sisters in this difficult moment."

He announced that as a mark of India's deepest respect, a one-day national mourning shall be observed on July 9. Abe, 67, was shot from behind minutes after he started his speech in Nara on Friday.
He was airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment. He was later pronounced dead despite emergency treatment.

ALSO READ | Assassin held grudge against outfit he believed Shinzo Abe had links with: Police

Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of the attack which shocked many in Japan.

Indira Gandhi (File Photo | PTI) 

India had in 1984 mourned the death of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was assassinated by two of her security guards.

Her son and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi too was assassinated in 1991.

Indira Gandhi, who had earned the moniker of 'Iron Lady', was shot by her security guards on the morning of October 31, 1984, when she had just left her official residence at 1, Safdarjung Road in Delhi. The building now is a memorial.

She was taken to AIIMS but doctors could not revive India's first woman prime minister whose life had inspired women across the world, and several parents had even named their daughters after her.

On that fateful day, the nation was so full of grief that even many professional news anchors couldn't help feeling emotionally overwhelmed.

Veteran TV anchor Salma Sultan, in an interview with PTI, had termed reading the news of her assassination as perhaps the most difficult assignment of her career.

Rajiv Gandhi. (Express | Photo)

Indira Gandhi's son Rajiv Gandhi, who took the mantle of prime minister after her death and served in the post till 1989, was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber at an election rally.

Among other heads of state around the world who have been assassinated, include leaders from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the US.

Lincoln, the 16th US president who led the nation through the American Civil War, was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth, an American stage actor at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865.
The theatre has been preserved as a heritage site.

In this Nov. 22, 1963 file photo, John F. Kennedy
rides in a motorcade with his wife Jacqueline, right,
prior to his assassination. (AP)

John F Kennedy, fondly referred to by his nickname 'JFK' was the 35th president of the US from 1961 until his assassination on November 22, 1963, in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald, a former US Marine, was arrested for the assassination, but he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby two days later.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, on a visit to the USSR.
(Photo | AFP)

Bangladesh, a country India helped liberate, saw the assassination of its beloved Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975, in Dhaka. Rahman, the first President and later the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from April 1971 until his assassination, was killed along with most of his family members.

Bangladesh president Ziaur Rahman was assassinated in Chittagong in May 1981.

In Pakistan, one serving prime minister and one former were assassinated. Liaquat Ali Khan, born in Karnal in undivided India, served as the first prime minister of Pakistan from 1947-51. He was assassinated on October 16, 1951, when he was addressing a gathering at Company Bagh in Rawalpindi. The garden was later renamed Liaqat Bagh in his honour.

Benazir Bhutto (AP)

Rawalpindi witnessed the assassination of another Pakistani leader in 2007. Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack in Rawalpindi shortly after she had addressed an election rally on December 27, 2007. She was attacked after a rally in Liaquat Bagh and brought to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

According to a 2014 report in Dawn, the Rawalpindi Central Hospital where she had died, was renamed after Benazir Bhutto after her assassination.

In Sri Lanka, Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was president between 1989 to 1993, was assassinated in 1993.

According to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website, on March 12, 2003, Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic was assassinated in Belgrade by a sniper.

In Nepal, the assassination of the royals shook the nation and the world. King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev and some members of the royal family were shot dead by his son on June 1, 2001. King Birendra, who played an active role in the establishment of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation, ascended the throne on January 31, 1972, following the death of his father and ruled Nepal for three decades, first as an absolute monarch and from 1990, as a constitutional monarch.


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