Do you know the real reason behind Indira Gandhi’s assassination?

Suraj Verma
3 min readOct 15, 2020
Indira Gandhi (Source: Hindustan Times)

Indira Gandhi was the first female Prime Minister of India serving from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984. At that time she was also known as the Iron Lady of India.

She had a colorful career and just like any other P.M, she was appreciated for her good decisions and criticized for the bad ones. Some of the key reforms made by her were:

  • Nationalization of Banks (1969)
    She nationalized 14 privately-owned major banks of India. This was done to promote economic equality in the country and also synchronize the goals of banks with the R.B.I.
  • Assistance in Bangladesh War (1971)
    India assisted East Pakistan in winning the Bangladesh Liberation War with West Pakistan which later led to the formation of Bangladesh as a separate country in 1971. India trained the rebels that demanded the formation of Bangladesh and separating from West Pakistan. These rebels were called Mukti Bahini.

With the background explained we can glide into the reason why Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.

In 1978, there was a violent clash that occurred between the Sant Nirankari Mission and traditional Sikhs. Nirankari’s believe in the idea that God is formless or Nirankari. They are a part of the Sikh community. In the incident, people were killed from both sides. A Sikh named Jarnail Singh Brindawala gained prominence from this incident.

Jarnail Singh Brindawala (Source: HuffPost India)

Jarnail Singh was the head of the Sikh religious organization named Damdami Taksal. As time passed he grew up as a leader of the Sikh Militancy. There were some sections of the Sikh community who were not satisfied with the prevailing social and economic conditions of the community. Jarnail Singh channelized these emotions and expressed his views questioning the identity of Sikhs.

He was so successful in persuading the community that they demanded a separation of Punjab into an independent country by the name ‘Khalistan’. It is said that he was backed by Pakistan’s I.S.I which provided him with arms which in turn helped him to spread militancy in the state.

Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India then, held several negotiations with them only to be left with an option to flush them out in the end. Hence in June 1984, the Indian Government launched military Operation Bluestar to capture Jarnail Singh and flush out the armed militants who at that time took cover in the Harmandir Sahib. Harmandir Sahib is today’s Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Golden Temple, Amritsar (Source: Britannica)

At that time curfew was imposed in Punjab. The mission was carried out and it was successful. Jarnail Singh was killed and other militants were captured or killed in the scuffle.

Golden Temple is the holiest place for the Sikhs and killing people in that place hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community throughout the world. These sentiments grew to such an extent that later the Prime Minister of the country was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.

Over the next weeks, there was a nationwide mass massacre of Sikhs as retaliation by people. It took months for the situation to get completely under the control of the police.

Today there are no such big issues between any communities of India and every learned individual respects the sentiments of others to maintain peace in the country!

I would like to thank my readers for dropping here. I hope the time you spent reading my article has been fruitful.😊

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Suraj Verma

Developer & Programmer (who loves writing about social sciences & world politics)