Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

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Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30th, 1948 in the compound of Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti), a large mansion in New Delhi. His assassin was Nathuram Godse, an advocate of Hindu nationalism, a member of the political party the Hindu Mahasabha, and a past member of the Hindu nationalist paramilitary volunteer organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Godse considered Gandhi to have been too accommodating to Muslims during the Partition of India of the previous year.

Sometime after 5 PM, according to witnesses, Gandhi had reached the top of the steps leading to the raised lawn behind Birla House where he had been conducting multi-faith prayer meetings every evening. As Gandhi began to walk toward the dais, Godse stepped out from the crowd flanking Gandhi's path, and fired three bullets into Gandhi's chest and abdomen at point-blank range. Gandhi fell to the ground. He was carried back to his room in Birla House from which a representative emerged sometime later to announce his death.

Godse was captured by members of the crowd and handed over to the police. The Gandhi murder trial opened in May 1948 in Delhi's historic Red Fort, with Godse the main defendant, and his collaborator Narayan Apte and six others as the co-defendants. The trial was rushed through, the haste sometimes attributed to the home minister Vallabhbhai Patel's desire "to avoid scrutiny for the failure to prevent the assassination." Godse and Apte were sentenced to death on 8 November 1949. They were hanged in the Ambala jail on 15 November 1949.