Genocide of Hindu Saints on Gopashtami by Indira Gandhi – 1966

Perpetrator: Indian National Congress

Date: 7 November, 1966

Number: Estimated 5000 Hindus massacred

Indira Gandhi is one of the most well known late Prime Ministers of India. It is bizarre that though she is so well known, her crimes against Hindus are known by a select few.

Before the Lok Sabha elections in 1966, Indira Gandhi sought the blessings of two Hindu saints for her to win the elections, which was looking like a bleak prospect at that time. The two saints were Swami Karpatri ji and Acharya Vinoba Bhave. They gave her blessings for success, on the condition that she would implement the principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution per Article 48 for the protection of cow & other cattle against slaughter.

Indira Gandhi kept cow slaughter ban as one of the main campaigning points in her electoral strategy. Owing to this, she received massive support from Hindu groups.

“Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.”

Constitution of India, Article 48
Indira Gandhi’s Election campaign posters

Congress Fails Hindu Saints

After her win, Indira Gandhi failed to keep her promise to the Hindu saints and ignored the repeated pleas of Hindu organizations to ban cow slaughter. At that time, an estimated 15,000 cows were slaughtered per day.

Protest in Front of Parliament

On November 7, 1966, Gopashtami day – the most sacred day for worshiping the cow as per Hindu calendar – a huge crowd of Hindu saints and Gau rakshaks staged a protest in front of the Parliament to demand a ban on cow slaughter. Many Hindu saints fasted and staged a peaceful protest. Official numbers are that 10,000 protesters gathered, but unofficial numbers state that 3-7 lakhs had gathered outside the Indian Parliament. The protesters included women, children, saints, and heads of organizations like Jan Sangh, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Arya Samaj and the Sanatan Dharma Sabha. The rally, called the “Gauraksha Mahaabhiyan Samiti,” comprising heads of Hindu organizations and their followers, sought to present a memorandum in the ongoing Parliament session for cow slaughter ban.

As per the accounts of a journalist, a few goons were slyly added to the group of protesters to cause violence & disrupt the peaceful protest. He argued, that had the Hindu leaders wanted to commit acts of violence, they would not have gathered women and children with them in the protest. The rowdy elements attempted to break into the Parliament, whereupon the police unleashed lathi charge and tear gas on the entire group. Unable to restrain the tumultuous crowds, they then fired bullets at the crowd, killing Hindus indiscriminately.

Following this, a 48 hour curfew was imposed, where the Hindu groups also attacked the then Congress President’s residence in Delhi. More bullets were fired on Hindus again.

The most conservative estimate, given by magazines, is that 375 Hindus were killed. But first hand accounts state that more than 5000 Hindus were brutally slaughtered in the protest, and many more injured. The dead bodies were removed immediately and dumped away or put into fire.

Evidence of Genocide Destroyed

Indira Gandhi government deployed an estimated 5000 buses and military trucks to remove all eyewitnesses of the genocide to the outskirts of Delhi, so that the news of the genocide was contained, and no sources of information readily available. The government did not allow the journalists and media outlets to publish any news of this incident. A journalist, Man Mohan Sharma, nevertheless gave a statement later that even evidence of the genocide was destroyed by the Indira Gandhi government. The government had explicitly commanded to the media that no personal reporting was allowed, and only the press release by the government was to be published verbatim.

Resignation of Home Minister

Indira Gandhi, then PM of India, refused to shoulder any responsibility for the attack, blaming it on the Home Minister for failing to maintain law & order in the city.

Then Home Minister Gulzarilal Nanda gave his resignation immediately, following the incident.

Pained by the relentless massacre of Hindu holy men, Mahatma Ramchandra Veer and a few others went on a fast for 166 days to protest against cow slaughter, which he ended on the plea of the next Home Minister, Yashwantrao Balwantrao Chavan, trusting their commitment to bring about cow slaughter ban. But they never fulfilled the promise and failed Hindus once again.

Curse of Hindu Saints

Indira Gandhi Assassination: Washington Post
Indira Gandhi Assassination: Washington Post

Indira Gandhi & Indian National Congress lost all 7 seats in Delhi in the next Lok Sabha elections.

Owing to the atrocities on Hindus, with no hope of any cow slaughter ban, Hindu saints lost patience with Indira Gandhi, who was directly responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent Hindus. Many followers of Swami Karpatri ji have asserted that he cursed her to die in the same way she killed Hindus. True to his word, Indira Gandhi was murdered due to brutal firing by her own body guards. She was assassinated on Gopashtami day, on 31 October, 1984.

References:

Remembering the 7th Nov 1966 Gopastami Hindu Massacre in Delhi

Karma Catches Fast Those Who Hurt Dharma

Remembering the 50 years of largest Hindu killing by Indira Gandhi in Goraksha Abhiyan in Delhi

RSS and VHP plan a grand event to revive the memories of 1966 anti-cow slaughter agitation

Wikipedia – 1966 Anti cow slaughter agitation

Cover Image: Unknown