Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], February 1 (ANI): The killings of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were not "martyrdom but accidents", Uttarakhand Minister Ganesh Joshi said on Tuesday, stoking a political controversy.
The Minister said that there is a "difference between accident and martyrdom" and what happened with the two former prime ministers is betetr called an "accident".
"If you look at History, there is a difference between accident and martyrdom. Freedom fighters like Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil and others, who accepted capital punishment but did not accept the Britishers' demands, were martyrs. If there is some bad incident with someone, that is called an accident," Joshi told ANI.
Former prime minister Indira Gandhi was killed by her two Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984 as a revenge for military operation to flush out extremists from the Golden Temple in June that year.
Her son Rajiv Gandhi, who was the prime minister, was assassinated by Tamil Tiger rebels on May 21, 1991 in Sriperambudur while on an election campaigning.
"Yes, they were tall leaders, the Prime Ministers, but they met with accidents. Indira Gandhi was killed by her bodyguards. That was not martyrdom but an accident. I stand by my statement that there is a difference between martyrdom and accident," Joshi added.
The Uttarakhand minister's remarks came after senior Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, in his speech during the closing ceremony of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and RSS would not be able to understand what the pain is.
"Those who do violence like PM Modi, Amit Shah, Ajit Doval, and RSS, cannot understand pain, but we can. We should stand against the ideology which tries to demolish the base of India," he said.
Joshi further credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the successful unfurling of national flag by Rahul Gandhi at Lal Chowk in Srinagar during the Bharat Jodo Yatra on January 30.
"Had Article 370 not been revoked, would Rahul Gandhi be able to do it? Why didn't he do it during the Congress rule?" he said. (ANI)