Congress veteran P Chidambaram on Sunday remembered former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and turned emotional, saying that he was a “messenger of peace”, and those who feared that peace would prevail in Sri Lanka were responsible for his death.
The former finance minister said Rajiv’s mother, Indira, “realised” that a nuclear-powered India would enter the elite superpower club and conducted the Pokhran I test.
Her son, however, did not do it when he was the prime minister as he was a “lover of peace” and never ordered nuclear tests despite being well aware of the status it would accord on the country, he said.
Describing Rajiv as a “messenger of peace”, Chidambaram said the former prime minister had initiated various peace agreements in Punjab, Mizoram, Kashmir and Assam during his tenure.
And when he was trying to ensure one more peace agreement, i.e. in Sri Lanka, “some rebels from the (Tamil) race, which would have benefited from the peace accord, took his life,” he said in an apparent reference to Rajiv’s assassination by an LTTE suicide bomber at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.
“Messengers of peace getting killed is not new. Jesus was killed, Abraham Lincoln was killed, Mahatma Gandhi, who was a messenger of peace—he was killed, John F Kennedy was killed.”
“Rajiv was a messenger of peace and he was killed because of that,” Chidambaram said and broke down.
He quickly composed himself and proceeded to address the gathering on the Congress leader’s 26th death anniversary at the TNCC headquarters Sathyamurthi Bhavan here.
He said Rajiv knew “he will face an unexpected end”.
“He, however, said that he will never withdraw from the
efforts taken for the welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils. Those who feared peace will prevail in Sri Lanka were responsible for his death,” he added.