By Vimal Sumbly-
October 31, 1984 was more of a day of betrayal than revenge. In history’s one of the worst betrayals, two bodyguards of the then Prime Minister Ms Indira Gandhi shot her dead in the morning hours when she came out of her room to meet a foreign television crew for interview. This assassination was done in revenge of her decision to send Army to the Golden Temple to flush out militants less than four months ago.
The act was blatant betrayal of Ms Gandhi's unwavering trust in her two bodyguards more than anyone else even though intelligence and security agencies had advised against retaining them in the aftermath of the Operation Bluestar. So much so after they had been withdrawn from her security, she asked for them to be redeployed and that too in the inner most security circle, thus actually inviting them to shoot her dead in trust. There has neither been nor can be, a betrayal worse than this.
Revenge brews revenge and innocent get killed. Hundreds, rather few thousand innocent Sikhs were massacred in the national capital and other parts of the country in revenge for the killing of Ms Gandhi by her bodyguards who happened to be Sikhs.
Ms Gandhi had trusted her bodyguards more than anyone else and treated them like her own children. And when they had been withdrawn from the duty from her inner security circle, she had turned furious at the decision and ordered that they be recalled within 24 hours. She had reportedly reprimanded her private secretary RK Dhawan for the decision while personally calling the then Director of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) RN Kao asking him to reverse the decision.
In fact, Dhawan was questioned for having got the two Sikh bodyguards redeployed with Ms Gandhi by the inquiry commission probing her assassination. At one stage, even his role was suspected behind the job he had performed at the behest of Ms Gandhi herself.
Following the suspicion on him in the assassination, Dhawan was shown an ungraceful exit and was stopped from walking into his office by the security staff asking him that he had been advised not to come to the office again.
It was only after the deposition of the RAW Director Kao, who had corroborated Dhawan’s statement that Ms Gandhi had herself called him and asked that the two Sikh body guards be deployed back in the inner most security circle, that Dhawan was given a clean chit and saved of the disgrace of being part of the conspiracy to assassinate Ms Gandhi.
Had it not been for Kao’s deposition before the inquiry commission that Ms Gandhi had herself asked him to redeploy her security guards; Dhawan might have met a terrible fate.