All it takes is a moment to change the course of history. May 21 marks the 28th anniversary of India’s former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi's death at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. Rajiv Gandhi was killed as an LTTE member named Thenmozhi Rajaratnam detonated an RDX-laden suicide belt while greeting him at a function in 1990, seven years after the assassination of his mother and India’s then prime minister, Indira Gandhi. Here is a look at assassination of five other world leaders and their assassins.
The 16th president of the United States, credited with ending slavery in his country with the famous Emancipation Proclamation, was assassinated by a well-known actor and confederate John Wilkes Booth on 15 April, 1865. Booth fled from the spot, only to be killed ten days later by Sergeant Boston Corbett on 26 April, 1865.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
The Austrian archduke’s and his wife’s assassination in Sarajevo on 28 June, 1914 triggered off a sequence of events that eventually led to the catastrophic World War I and the death of millions of people including combatants and civilians. The assassin Gavrilo Princip was part of group of six assassins who were coordinated by Danilo Ilić, a Bosnian Serb and a member of the Black Hand secret society, which wanted to break off Austria-Hungary's South Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Yugoslavia.
The charismatic Pakistani politician who had served as Prime Minister of Pakistan twice was shot as she was leaving a campaign rally on 27 December, 2007, in the country’s Rawalpindi city after returning from years of self-imposed exile to a massive public welcome. A simultaneous explosion near her car killed 20 other people. Benazir was rushed to a hospital, where she died an hour later. While al-Qaeda claimed responsibility, there were also speculations regarding involvement of the Pakistani Taliban and rogue elements of Pakistan’s security establishment.
John F Kennedy
The 35th president of the United States was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963, with three shots, as he was moving in an open-car motorcade in Dealey Plaza accompanied by his wife Jackie Kennedy. Oswald was shot to death two days after his arrest by a man named Jack Ruby, leading to years of conspiracy theories even as the FBI and the Warren Commission both officially concluded that Oswald had acted alone.
Last but not the least, the Roman general and statesman who played a key role in events that led to the downfall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire, and was stabbed to death on ‘Ides of March’ (March 15) in 44 BC by a group of rebellious senators led by Gaius Cassius Longinus, Marcus Junius Brutus and Decimus Junius Brutus. The subject of many literary and artistic works including William Shakespeare seminal play ‘Julius Caesar’ , his political philosophy, known as ‘Caesarism,’ inspired many politicians of the modern era.