Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi

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 May 21, 1991 – a terrible tragedy struck India as Congress leader and ex-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber during an election rally in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. 


Rajiv Gandhi, born on August 20 in 1944, took over the charge of the Congress in 1984 following the assassination of his mother and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He became India’s youngest Prime Minister at the age of 40 when he assumed office in October 1984. He served as the Prime Minister of India till December 2, 1989.


Rajiv Gandhi was busy campaigning for the upcoming elections along with G.K. Moopanar in southern states of India. On 21 May, after campaigning in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, his next stop was Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. About two hours after arriving in Madras (now Chennai), Gandhi was driven by motorcade in a white Ambassador car to Sriperumbudur, stopping along the way at a few other election campaigning venues. When Rajiv reached a campaign rally in Sriperumbudur, he left his car and began walking towards the dais where he was to deliver a speech. Along the way, he was garlanded by many well-wishers, Indian National Congress workers and school children. The assassin, Dhanu (Thenmozhi Rajaratnam), approached and greeted him. She then bent down to touch his feet and detonated an RDX explosive-laden belt tucked below her dress at exactly 10:10 PM. Gandhi, his assassin and 14 others were killed in the explosion that followed, along with 43 others who were grievously injured. The assassination was caught on film by a local photographer, Haribabu, whose camera and film was found intact at the site despite him also dying in the blast.

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