Iconic Photos

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Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi

with 6 comments

Twenty one years ago today, the former prime-minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in India. IP looks back on how the night’s events unfolded.

First Two Frames: photo of the crowd was used by police to look for back-up bombers and conspirators

I couldn’t find third and sixth frames but here are frames 4, 5, 8, and 7 (clockwise from top left)

Last Two Frames: You can see the woman in orange and green approaching

He was a prince of Machiavellian proportions, there was no doubt about that. First scion and then head of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that ruled India for 32 of previous 37 years, Rajiv Gandhi became India’s prime minister in 1984. He tried to modernize and deregulate the Nehruvian state, intervened in Maldives and Sri Lanka, and placed Punjab under martial law for “terrorism”. He was a skillful orator, a masterful charmer, and after his fall from grace in 1989 in the aftermath of a corruption scandal, a political spoiler and kingmaker.

In 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was back on the campaign trail, after fracturing the coalition government — his second such attempt in as many years. On the night of May 21st in the southern town of Sriperumbudur, his dynamism was rudely stopped by a woman who bent down to touch his feet (an expression of respect among Indians) and detonated herself. Rajiv Gandhi and at least 14 other people were killed.

The assassination was carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), an armed insurgency fighting for a separate state in Sri Lanka against whom Mr. Gandhi had previously intervened. The above photos were taken by Haribabu, a 21-year-old local free-lance photographer who died in the blast, but whose Chinese-made 35-mm camera was recovered. The last photo showed a harrowing red explosion.

The photos were developed and sent to India’s most advanced military lab to be thoroughly examined. Haribabu was thought to have been paid $5 by the Tamil conspirators to document the assassination, and hence his first photo showed the bomber and her co-conspirator; the assassin was second from left, dressed in orange, and disguised behind glasses. The mastermind behind the attack, Sivarasan, posed as journalist on rightmost.

Subsequent three-month manhunt ended with a cornered Sivarsan and six others killing themselves on would have been Mr. Gandhi’s 47th birthday. As for the late lamented Rajiv, he would continue to haunt the Indian politics for many more years: in 1997, after the investigation on the assassination revealed that an Indian political party secretly supported LTTE, another coalition government fell.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 21, 2012 at 11:39 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , , ,

6 Responses

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  1. The the former Indian prime-minister Rajiv Gandhi, Killed by Tamil Tiger terrorist organizations –Sri Lanka’s North Part Jaffna Base one & only Hindu terrorist organizations member’s plane the attack.

    Rhy

    May 22, 2012 at 5:56 am

  2. What a great timing for the shot! I’m quite sure those photos are of great help in the investigation of the crime.

    Famous Photographer

    June 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm

  3. those photos are miracle ,even big and investigators will not deny that.

    vikrant sardesai

    August 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm

  4. still pending case, after such a proof. it shows the dullness of indian nation.

    shivam kumar, siwan

    August 28, 2013 at 6:26 am

    • No there is evidance with our goverment, if they leak higher officials will be killed on the spot i think……….I am worshping god to look after india…. This is hindustan…..who does goood to hindustan they will be protected……………….y have closed seen mr Rajiv where had dance in the Gajuwaka…….. i can not forget this.

      srinivas

      August 30, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    • these photos first published in a The Hindu news paper on 24th of May, 2009, how did the news paper got these photographs. When a suspects are visible in this photos how its made to public through a news paper.

      there is evidences that tamilnadu forensic department people only given these photos to the hindu news paper.

      And A video cassette was hidden by K.R. Narayanan, he is governer of some indian state now.. Where is that video cassette

      Hari haran

      September 16, 2013 at 6:12 am


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