Beant Singh, Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh achieved martyrdom by removing one of the worst oppressors of modern times from the Indian scene. While Beant Singh was made a victim of revenge killing on the spot by the Indian security forces, Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh were hanged for the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Satwant Singh did not ask for mercy but Kehar Singh was hanged on most spurious evidence. There is no doubt that Beant Singh and Satwant Singh have by their act earned the undying gratitude of the Sikhs and a honorable place in the Sikh history, however Indira’s assassination raises further questions.

Indian politics operate in the strangest of the ways. After the assassination of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in October 1984, Thakkar Commission was appointed to go into various aspects of the killing. The report was completed in two years after a rigorous examination of witnesses and circumstances. Strangely the report was never released to the public or for that matter even to the parliament. The report remained the private domain of Rajiy Gandhi for the last four years.

The farce was extended beyond the ludicrous for Rajiv Gandhi issued an ordinance negating the provisions of the Constitution which require that findings of Commissions be produced for public record or at least under certain circumstances, be presented to the Parliament. This was not the end even the President of India, who specifically asked for the Commission report was denied access to it. And now comes the bombshell. The Indian Express has leaked excerpts from the secret commission report suggesting that the “needle of suspicion pointed towards RK Dhawan.” It may be recalled that RK Dhawan was Special Assistant to Indira Gandhi for 17 years and was walking along side Indira Gandhi when she came under a hail of gun fire. Strangely Dhawan was not harmed or even grazed by the gun fire (as indeed no one else); ‘was not allowed to appear as a witness during the trial of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh was dismissed by Rajiv Gandhi without any explanation, and now has been suddenly hired as Additional Secretary.

Gandhihas been forced to release the report at the insistence of the opposition (for which 63 MPs were suspended by the speaker! Some democracy! And what do we find? Justice thakkar opined that Dhawan was probably involved in the plot for assassination and that he was linked with the U.S Central Intelligence Agency which planned and abetted the plot.

If these charges are even remotely true why did the Indian government suppress the report for so long? To blame the CIA is a convenient diversion which had been used by Indira Gandhi and now, her son. But who was Dhawan really working for? Was Rajiv Gandhi the man who stood to gain most from Indira Gandhi’s death, that person? Most ominously, upon President Zail Singh’s return from abroad, why and in what capacity did Dhawan prevail upon the President to appoint Rajiv Gandhi who ‘was not even a cabinet member as the new Prime Minister? To keep the plot tight, did Gandhi sack Dhawan to divert public attention? And is he now paying Dhawan the debt for his services? Besides these weird details, as far as we are concerned, how was Satwant’s, Beant’s and Kehar Singh’s wrath turned in to a tool of palace convenience? Was the death used to connive the killings of thousands of innocent Sikhs? Are we witnessing the medieval drama of son conniving to eliminate the ruler to take power which Beant Singh and Kehar Singh used for their own purpose? Whatever the facts, the Indian government needs to give an explanation to its people about its murky deeds.


However, all this does not detract the martyrdom of the three suras in the true Sikh tradition.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 31, 1989