On the occasion of the 39th death anniversary of his grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi — paying tribute to her — on Tuesday said that he will always protect the India for which she sacrificed everything, including her very life.
Rahul Gandhi, in a post on ‘X’, said, “My strength, my grandmother! I will always protect the India for which you sacrificed everything. Your memories are always with me, in my heart.”
Gandhi also attached a video — over a minute long — of his tribute to his grandmother. The Congress Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad can be seen crying at the funeral of his grandmother in the video. He is seen standing alongside his father Rajiv Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi in the video.
“I had essentially two mothers. One super mother, which was my grandmother. For me it was like losing my mother,” Rahul Gandhi can be heard saying in the voiceover for the video.
Earlier on October 31, on the occasion of her 39th death anniversary at Shakti Sthal in the nation capital, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and party chief Mallikarjun Kharge paid floral tribute to Indira Gandhi.
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated at 9:30 a.m. on 31 October 1984 at her residence in Safdarjung Road, New Delhi. She was killed by her Sikh bodyguards Satwant Singh and Beant Singh in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star, an Indian military action carried out between 1 and 8 June 1984 ordered by Indira Gandhi to remove Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers from the Golden Temple of Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, Punjab. The collateral damage included the death of many pilgrims, as well as damage to the Akal Takht. The military action on the sacred temple was criticized both inside and outside India.
Operation Blue Star
Operation Blue Star was a large Indian military operation carried out between 1 and 8 June 1984, ordered by Indira Gandhi to remove leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his militant Sikh followers from the buildings of the Harmandir Sahib complex in Amritsar, Punjab. The Indian Army suffered around 700 deaths with most of 80-200 militants dying as well. Over 5,000-10,000 civilians were also killed in the Operation. The Operation also caused serious damage to two of holiest Sikh shrines — the Golden Temple and Akal Takht.
The perceived threat to Gandhi’s life increased after the operation. Accordingly, Sikhs were removed from her personal bodyguard detail by the Intelligence Bureau for fear of assassination. Gandhi thought that this would reinforce her anti-Sikh image among the public, however, and she ordered the Delhi Police to reinstate her Sikh bodyguards, including Beant Singh, who was reported to be her personal favorite.
Gandhi’s body was taken in a gun carriage through Delhi roads on the morning of 1 November to Teen Murti Bhavan, where her father stayed and where she lay in state. She was cremated with full state honors on 3 November near Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, at an area named Shakti Sthal. Her elder son and successor, Rajiv Gandhi, lit the pyre.