10 assassinations that shook the world: Rajiv Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto and more
Michael Corleone in ‘The Godfather, Part II’ famously said, “If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anybody.”
And how true!
Politics has the power to move people towards voting, marching for a social cause and, unfortunately, killing someone as well.
Assassinations of popular men and women in political circles around the globe have always caused a massive stir. They not only leave a profound impact on the nation, but also on history itself.
Here’s a look at some of the most shocking assassinations in world history.
1. Rajiv Gandhi
On May 21, 1991, India’s sixth prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during a poll campaign at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. The incident that sent shock waves across the world was carried out by Thenmozhi Rajaratnam alias Dhanu, who was associated with the separatist organisation from Sri Lanka – Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The assassination was seen as a retaliation for sending Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka in 1987.
2. Mahatma Gandhi
Fondly called as ‘Bapu’, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is known as the man responsible for an independent India. A strong believer in non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi was shot by a Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse on January 30, 1948.
3. Indira Gandhi
Considered as one of India’s greatest Prime Ministers, Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, 1984 by two of her own bodyguards at her residence in New Delhi. The bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh who were taken aback by the military attack on Golden temple during Operation Blue Star, fired close to 30 bullets.
4. John F. Kennedy
United States’ 35th President John F. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963 during a political campaign in Dallas, Texas. The sniper shot on Kennedy’s head and neck when he was travelling in a presidential motorcade along with his wife Jacqueline.
5. Martin Luther King Jr.
A prominent leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. is worshiped even today for his contribution towards eradication racial discrimination. This Nobel Peace Prize laureate was assassinated while he was standing on the second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968.
6. Abraham Lincoln
America’s first president, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865 by a renowned stage actor John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln was watching the play “Our American Cousin” in Washington, D.C., when he was shot at the back of his head.
7. John Lennon
The former Beatles member was assassinated on December 8, 1980 by Mark David Chapman, who fired five bullets in rapid succession on Lennon’s back.
8. Julius Ceasar
This famous Roman dictator was assassinated on March 15, 44 BC by a group of senators. Ceaser was invited to watch a game of gladiatorial sport in the Theatre of Pompey where the senators stabbed him over 23 times.
9. Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and the heir to Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination is believed to have led to the World War One. He and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenbergh, were shot on June 28, 1914 by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Bosnia.
10. Benazir Bhutto
This two-time Pakistan Prime Minister was assassinated during her campaign for the 2008 elections in a bombing on December 27, 2007 in Rawalpindi. According to news reports, shots were first fired at Bhutto before a suicide bomber killer her and 24 other civilians. Later, former military dictator Pervez Musharraf was indicted for her murder.
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