Researcher seeks access to classified US document about Gandhi killing

Mahatma GandhiA researcher is seeking access to a potentially revealing classified telegram sent by a United States diplomat who witnessed the assassination of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. Gandhi, the leader of the Indian movement for independence, and a towering civil rights figure of the 20th century, was assassinated on January 30, 1948, as he was about to hold a prayer meeting in downtown New Delhi. His assassin, Nathuram Vinayak Godse, was a member of a Hindu nationalist paramilitary group, who blamed Gandhi for the bloody partition of India. He and a co-conspirator, Narayan Apte, were arrested for Gandhi’s murder and put to death in 1949.

But there are many who claim that Gandhi’s assassination resulted from a far larger conspiracy, involving many more people and groups, but was covered up. One such proponent is Mumbai-based researcher Dr Pankaj Phadnis, who has been pushing for a new official investigation into Gandhi’s assassination since 1996. Last week, Dr Phadnis petitioned India’s Supreme Court, arguing that an American intelligence officer was present during Gandhi’s assassination and filed a report that may point to a broader conspiracy to kill the Indian civil rights leader. Dr Phadnis also argues that American intelligence agencies may have been involved in a secret effort to protect Gandhi from physical danger.

The Mumbai-based researcher told the Indian Supreme Court that he was able to obtain access to American diplomatic documents during one of his recent visits to the US National Archives and Research Administration in Washington, DC. Among them were telegrams sent to the Department of State by the US embassy in New Delhi before and after Gandhi’s assassination. The two most telling telegrams, said Dr. Phadnis, were written shortly after the assassination by a longtime American diplomat, Herbert Tom Reiner. According to many eyewitness accounts, including Reiner’s own, Reiner was present during Gandhi’s assassination, and was standing no more than five feet from the Indian leader when he was shot by Godse. The American diplomat helped apprehend the assassin before he and others surrendered him to the authorities.

Reiner submitted two telegrams to Washington as soon as he returned to the US embassy following Gandhi’s assassination, which Dr Phadnis was able to access. But a third one, sent at 8:00 p.m. that same evening, remains classified and out of the reach of researchers. Dr Phadris said he filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the US government and is expecting an answer. Now he is trying to get the Indian courts to agree that the existence of new evidence, including Reiner’s telegrams, justify the reopening of the probe into Gandhi’s assassination.

Reiner left India in the summer of 1949 and served briefly as assistant attaché in Budapest, Hungary, before being transferred again, this time to Seoul, South Korea. He then held posts in Sierra Leone, South Africa and Canberra. He died in 1999 in the US state of Massachusetts.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 02 October 2017 | Permalink

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3 Responses to Researcher seeks access to classified US document about Gandhi killing

  1. Joe Jordan says:

    Various world leaders seem to have mysteriously met their demise over the last 100 years as
    their focus becomes inconsistent with what they agreed to in exchange for emolluments and generous funding from several US Govt agencies. I am sure you know who I am talking about.

  2. Tom McNiff says:

    This article demands backup Google research. In 2000, the LA Times ran a story saying that at the time of Gandhi’s death, a U.S. diplomat named Reiner was present and stepped in to grab the Gandhi assassin by the shoulders and hold him until police arrested the killer and hauled him away.

  3. RAJEN MEHTA says:

    Sarla Ratilal Mehta – Aged 87 years is eye-witness of Gandhi’s Assassination. She is still there in India, in city Mumbai, and she stays in area called Andheri. She is my aunty. She still remembers the event very clearly in front of her eyes and she describes it whenever requested for.

    We have the photographs which prove that she is the eye – witness. More information will be provided on hearing from you.

    Rajen Mehta
    Chartered Accountant and Insolvency Professional,
    Mumbai,
    India.
    Cell No. : +91-9869216783

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