Even as the nation observed Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary on Monday, a report said that before assassinating the Mahatma on January 30, 1948, Nathuram Godse had earlier made several attempts to eliminate the Father of the Nation.
According to the report of the Utkal Gandhi Smarak Nidhi (UGSN) here, Gandhi was targeted at least nine times, but he had escaped eight times. UGSN president Prahallad Sinha said this after reviewing historical documents.
While Godse was arrested for attacking Gandhi with a knife at Panchgani near Pune in 1944, he had conspired at the Birla Bhawan in New Delhi to kill him on January 20, 1948, just 10 days before the Mahatma’s assassination. Although Gandhi had invited Godse for a discussion in this regard after coming to know about the conspiracy, the latter had avoided his proposal.
Gandhi, a worshipper of nonviolence, who had led the country’s freedom struggle, was shot dead by Godse on January 30, 1948, after five months and16 days of the Independence Day, the UGSN report said.
A conspiracy had been hatched on June 29, 1946 when Gandhi was travelling from Mumbai to Pune by train. Big rocks were laid on the railway track between the Neral and Karzat stations to kill him. However, a major accident was averted.
A plan was had also been plotted to kill him in a bomb blast on June 25, 1934 in Pune. At least seven people were injured in the incident. However, Gandhi had a narrow escape as the bomb was exploded on another motor car.
Gandhi had also been attacked even in South Africa. He had not lodged a case against the attackers.
Apart from Godse, several others including Digambar, Gopal, Narayan, Karkare, Madanlal and Savarkar were arrested in the Gandhi killing case. While Godse and Narayan were convicted and awarded death sentence after eight months of trial, Savarkar was acquitted and other conspirators were sentenced to life in imprisonment.
Although a commission headed by senior Supreme Court lawyer Gopal Swarup had been constituted after Gandhi’s assassination, it did not submit its report.
later, retired SC Justice Jeevanlal Kapoor was assigned to head the commission in 1966. Based on the documents and data, he submitted a report on September 30, 1969 stating that Savarkar was involved in the conspiracy, Sinha said.