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Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha

The Assassinations of John F Kennedy and Rajiv Gandhi

15 March 1992

The recently released Oliver Stone's new movie 'JFK', starring Kevin Costner had rekindled the suspicions American public had entertained for almost 28 years that the true story behind President John F Kennedy's assassination is yet to be told. This movie is based on the book, 'On the trail of the assassins', authored by Jim Garrison, who served as the District Attorney of New Orleans from 1962 to 1974. While reading this book, I was surprised, I was surprised by the many parallels between the assassinations of Kennedy and Rajiv Gandhi. Let me list some of them.

(1) At death, John F Kennedy was the President of the USA. Rajiv had served one term as the prime minister of India and was awaiting a favourable election verdict to regain that position.

(2) Both Kennedy and Rajiv were 46 years old, at the time of their tragic deaths.

(3) Both died in one of the southern states of their countries. Kennedy, in Dallas, Texas; Rajiv, in Sri Perumbudur, Tamil Nadu.

(4) Reason for the visit to the southern states: Kennedy went to Texas, to prepare for his 1964 re-election. Rajiv was in Tamil Nadu, to campaign for the 1991 general election, to be re elected as the prime minister.

(5) Both suffered instant deaths; Kennedy, due to gun-shot wounds; Rajiv, due to bomb blast.

(6) Kennedy's assassin was a 24-year old male, who was shot to death in an unexpected fashion inside the Dallas police station within 48 hours of his victim's death. Details about Rajiv's assassin, a female, is sketchy. Her age has been noted as "24 years", and she met instant death like that of her victims.

(7) Because the assassins did not survive longer, the attention was focused onto the person with "secrets". In the case of Kennedy, it was Jack Ruby, whose real name was Jacob Rubenstein. He was seen close to the location of crime (eye witness evidence) and on Nov 24 1963 (two days after the assassination of Kennedy), Ruby shot and killed Kennedy's assassin. According to official records, Ruby dies as a prisoner on Jan 3 1967, due to "prostrate cancer". In Rajiv's assassination, the person with "secrets" was one "Sivarajan", whose real name has been traced by one journalist as Packiyachandran. He was also seen at the location of crime (photo evidence). According to the Indian police personnel, he committed suicide on Aug 20, 1991.

(8) The relationship of Jack Ruby with Mafia and Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) has been probed from surviving documents. "Sivarajan", who had been identified as the member of TELO till 1986, would have had contacts with the Indian intelligence agencies. This lead has not been pursued in detail yet.

(9) The Warren Commission which investigated the murder of Kennedy concluded that a lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald killed the president. The federal institutions (military establishment. FBI and CIA) and the mafia were exonerated from the conspiracy. But the American public distrust this conclusion. In the case of Rajiv's assassination, the Indian press and the investigating agencies (CBI, SIT and RAW) have alleged LTTE's involvement. However, "the politicians, bureaucrats, academics and semi-official journalists who represent India's political status quo" (according to Steve Coll, in the International Herald Tribune of June 15, 1991) believe that "the CIA agents probably organized the plot to kill the former prime minister".

We should note that at least in the case of John F Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, so much personal information is known now. But, how about the female assassin of Rajiv Gandhi? Nine months have passed since May 21 of last year, yet nothing is known about her. The Indian press has given her a name, "Dhanu". And the Dec 15 1991 issue of the 'India Today', reported that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had located 'letter leads' which ' would prove that the assassination was ordered by Pirabhakaran". According to this news report, which was unashamedly republished by the 'Tamil Times' later, "Dhanu, wrote to Pirabhakaran on May 10, 1991, from the LTTE's Kodungaiyur hide-out. Thanking Pirabhakaran for entrusting her with the important task".

The humour in the "letter lead" is that, the SIT and other Indian sleuths have yet to identify who this "Dhanu" is. When was she born? Where was she born? Where did she live? Who are her kith and kin? Was she unmarried, married, divorced, separated? Nothing is known yet. She is not in the police files of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Without knowing answers to all these vital questions, how did the SIT identify the purported letter the assassin has written as really an authentic one? T prove the veracity of this letter, they should first have in their hands other written documents which pre-date this purported May 10 letter. The SIT has not revealed how and where they obtained these authenticating documents, without identifying the person. If they truly succeeded in doing this, certainly the Indian sleuths can even bring Rajiv Gandhi back to life.




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