Politics is always believed to be a game played by the high, mighty and powerful. Often, over-running ambitions and difference in thoughts and ideologies turned fatal. It has stained the annals of Indian politics with some of the bloodiest chapters where several politicians lost their lives under mysterious circumstances. Let’s go back to the pages of history to know about the mysteries.
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee
Party: Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Hindu Mahasabha
Death: 23 June, 1953
Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, also known as Shyama Prasad Mukherjee died under ‘mysterious’ conditions followed by his arrest when he entered Kashmir on 11th May 1953. Dr. Mukherjee, who suffered from dry pleurisy and coronary problems was taken to hospital 90 days after he was arrested. Though, he informed the doctor about his allergic reactions to penicillin, he was administered one.
Dr. Mukherjee vehemently opposed the decision of Indian National Congress of providing a separate Emblem, flag and Prime Minister to Kashmir. To protest against the same, he entered Srinagar and was immediately arrested. Rumor mills suggest that Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru joined hands to poison Dr. Mukherjee. What’s more shocking is no post mortem was carried out contrary to the regular medical procedure, post death. In fact, Maulana Azad, the acting Prime Minister did not even allow Dr. Mukherjee’s body to be flown to Delhi and sent straight away to Kolkata.
The various circumstances that caused the death of Dr. Mukherjee, raised a wave of suspicion across the nation. Soon, the Govt. was asked to set up an independent inquiry commission to probe behind the exact cause of death. However, Nehru went on to turn down such requests and did not even care to look into the matter inspite of repeated requests made by Dr. Mukherjee’s mother Jogmaya Devi.
Dr. Mukherjee’s death remained as a major controvery for the nation. Former Indian Prime Minister Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee even claimed in 2004 that Dr. Mukherjee died due to Nehru’s ‘conspiracy’.
Party: Indian National Congress
Death: 23 June, 1980
It was an open secret that Sanjay Gandhi, the younger son of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wielded uncanny influence over his mother. Such was his influence that he even went on to decide the positions in cabinet and picked those to him, he were personally close. Speculation also pointed that Indira Gandhi had no control over her son and he ‘blackmailed’ his mother to get things done the way he liked.
On that ill fated day, Sanjay Gandhi was flying an aircraft near Safdarjung Airport, accompanied by co-pilot Subhash Saxena. Though the aircraft was new with fuel tank all decked up yet it nosedived to ground while performing a loop. The crash triggered another round of speculations. Why the plane did not explode after hitting ground, something that usually happens when the plane runs out of fuel.
Conspiracy theories throw light on some of the most intriguing facts. Many feel, his mother and elder brother Rajiv Gandhi may have been victims of controversy as well. Since, Sanjay was widely believed to take over from his mother, someone might have planned this crash. The moment Indira got to know about Sanjay’s death, the first question she asked was ‘Where are his keys and wrist watch’? Did those treasure some deep dark secret of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty? What’s more shocking is, the cause of crash remains uninvestigated till date. Rumor factories also pointed out towards a possible tamper with the plane’s fuel tank, though lack of concrete evidence has always kept the entire incident under the blanket of speculation.
Lal Bahadur Shastri
Party: Indian National Congress
Death: 11 January,1966
Indian Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shahstri was the first Indian PM to pass away overseas while still at office. Mr. Shastri and Muhammad Ayub Khan, Pakistani President was off to Taskent to attend a summit organized by Alexeo Kosygin. It was during the summit, Tashkent Declaration was signed between India and Pakistan.
The very next day, Mr. Shastri died of multiple heart attacks. Though, he suffered heart attack on previous occasion, Lalita Shastri, Mr. Shastri’s wife alleged her husband was poisoned. After death, his body turned blue that pointed out towards poisoning. The Russian butler who attended Lal Bahadur Shastri, was arrested for a while but was later released after nothing concrete could be found against him.
In 2009, the case triggered more speculations when a journalist Anuj Dhar requested Prime Minister’s Office to carry out a thorough investigation on Shastri’s death. One report also suggested that PMO has in possession a few documents associated with Shashtri’s death but they can’t make it public since these might create a national chaos and disturb foreign relationship. Several questions like why the butler was arrested by Russian Govt. in case it was a case of heart attack still remain unanswered. Even the Indian Home Ministry is yet to reply on queries to whether the Govt. did conduct any investigation that leads towards any vile plot.
Subhash Chandra Bose
Party: Leader of Indian National Army, Azad Hind Fauj
The firebrand Indian freedom fighter who went on to wreck the British existence in India, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Initial reports suggested that Bose died in an air plane crash in Taipei, Japan in 1945. It’s said that his body burnt badly in the crash and he died in a hospital four hours later. Another report says he died in Siberia in Soviet captivity. A number of committees were further set up in India to probe into the death of Netaji.
There are a number of rumors associated with this issue. Buzz mills say Stalin and Molotov discussed whether to keep Bose in Soviet Union or not. Another rumor says Dr. S Radhakrishnan, India’s Ambassador met Bose once in an undisclosed location in Soviet Union. The plane in which Bose is believed to have boarded, never had him as a passenger.
In 1956, the Shah Nawaz Committee, a four man Indian team visited Japan to look deeper into the circumstances of Mr. Bose’s alleged death. But India Government never sought assistance from Taiwanese officials, citing lack of diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry’s report was also ruled out as inconclusive by the Indian Government and Netaji’s death still remains a mystery.
Lalit Narayan Mishra
Party: Indian National Congress
Death: January 3, 1975
Lalit Narayan Mishra served as the Railway Minister in Indian Government. He visited Samastipur on 2 January to inaugurate the Smastipur- Muzaffarpur broad gauge railway line. A bomb exploded on the dais where he stood, injuring Mr. Mishra critically. Following the explosion, he was admitted to Danapur Railway Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries the next day.
There has always been a smell of conspiracy and mystery around his murder which is still unsolved. Though several reports were filed and a case has been forwarded to court, proceedings are yet to be carried out. Indira Gandhi speculated the role of ‘foreign elements’ in the murder that bluntly pointed towards CIA. However, his brother Jaganath Mishra claimed there is a ‘larger conspiracy’ associated with the murder and certain facts have been subdued. Till date, probes leading to his death stay unsolved.
Sardar Beant Singh
Party: Indian National Congress
Death: August 31, 1995
Former Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Beant Singh was shot upon at secretariat complex by militants on August 31, 1995. The reason behind his death was mainly attributed to a major lapse in security. The attack took its toll on lives of 14 other people and three of the most experienced commandos were also killed. During the day of assassination, Beant Singh was accompanied by his close friend Ranjodh Singh Mann. Beant Singh was widely acclaimed for bringing back peace to the state of Punjab in 1992 and he played a significant role in bludgeoning the separatist forces.
Death: March 31, 1997
After finishing his tenure in JNU, Chandrasekhar came to Siwan to serve as a full time party activist. During that period, the Janata Dal, the political party which ran the government was involved in a duel against the prominent activists of CPI-ML. More than seventy people including leaders of district committee were killed between 1990 and 1996.
While addressing a street rally in Siwan on 31st March 1997, Chandrasekhar along with Shyam Narain Yadav was shot dead by the party. The CPI-ML (Liberation) was quick to add that the assassination was carried out on the order of Mohammed Shahbuddin, the then Member of Parliament from Siwan belonging to Janata Dal.
Chandrasekhar’s assassination triggered a mass student protest throughout Bihar as well as in Delhi. In one of the student protest in Delhi, Sadhu Yadav, the brother in law of the then Chief Minister of Bihar illegally open fired on the students.
Party: Samajwadi Party
Death: 25th July, 2001
The dreaded dacoit from ravines of Chambal, Phoolan Devi unleashed an unprecedented fury across Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Basically, belonging to the lower strata of society, she grew up in a male dominated society and was married off at an early age.
She had as many as 48 crimes registered against her name. She randomly looted upper caste people and killed many of them. Cases like banditry and kidnapping were also slapped against her. She was released on parole in 1994 and the Government of Uttar Pradesh withdrew all cases against her.
Post surrender, she joined politics and was involved in certain developmental activities. But on the ill fated day of 25 July 2001, she was assassinated the moment she got out of her car outside her New Delhi residence. Her bodyguards were also wounded in the attack. Sher Singh Rana, Dheeraj Rana and Rajbir were the prime accused of the crime and Rana was eventually arrested.
Abdul Ghani Lone
Party: Hurriyat, Founder-President of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference
Death: 21st May, 2002
Indian lawyer, politician and Kashmiri Separatist Abdul Ghani Lone was shot dead openly in presence of security forces and crowd of more than five thousand people in Jammu & Kashmir’s state capital of Srinagar. What’s shocking is two young men donning police uniform shot him and threw grenades before escaping.
Lone supported militancy in the initial phase of his Separatist career but turned milder later on and changed his views. He was against Indian as well as Pakistani rule on Kashmir. For someone who aimed to establish a united and independent Kashmir sans militancy and Pakistani’s support was certain to fall into Pakistani line of fire. His assassination on the anniversary of Mirwaiz Maulvi Mohammad Farooq is also believed to have sent a tacit message to be prepared of dire consequences, if someone shuns the path of militancy.
In fact, after Abdul Ghani Lone branded the foreign mercenaries as ‘guest militants’, an immediate attempt was made to eliminate him in 1996. However, he was lucky to survive the bomb attack on his car. The fact, militants have the similar Pakistani viewpoint of ‘If you are not with us, you are against us’ also played a heinous role in the assassination of Lone. Abdul Ghani’s son Sajjad Lone blamed both India and Pakistan for his father’s death.
Party: Bharatiya Janata Party
Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya was found murdered in highly mysterious circumstances inside his car, while he was coming back from his morning walk in the Law Garden area of Ahmedabad. An incident of shoot out was ruled out inside the car itself.
His murder stoked several controversies and top notch BJP leaders like Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the then Deputy Prime Minister of India, Lal Krishna Advani were severely criticized. Sangh Parivar was especially scathing in its criticism against Narendra Modi. Even the general public was quite shocked to witness the mysterious ways in which Mr. Pandya was murdered.
Many questions were raised about why Haren Pandya was not provided proper and adequate security cover even though he expressed fear for his life. The former Gujarat top cop Sanjiv Bhatt, a close associate of Haren Pandya had also ‘believed’ to warn Pandya of a possible attack on him.
Twelve people were arrested on 29th August 2011 on the accusation of having possible links with Haren Pandya’s murder. Other charges like criminal conspiracy and attempt to murder were also slapped on to the accused. However, the biggest rumor to float ever related to Haren Pandya’s murder was his association with Narendra Modi. It’s rumored that Pandya was murdered on Modi’s orders.