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Gopal Godse, 86; Conspired to Kill Gandhi

November 28, 2005|From Associated Press

NEW DELHI — Gopal Vinayak Godse, the last surviving conspirator in the assassination of Indian independence leader and pacifist icon Mohandas Gandhi, has died at age 86, media reports said.

Godse died at his home in the city of Pune late Saturday, the Press Trust of India news agency quoted his son Nana Godse as saying. No cause of death was given.

Godse, whose brother Nathuram shot the pacifist who led India to independence, served 16 years in jail for his involvement in the 1948 killing.

He remained unrepentant for his role in killing Gandhi, who fought for equality in a nation sharply divided by caste and became one of the most revered men in modern history.

"He was a very cruel person for the Hindus," Godse said of Gandhi in a 2003 interview with Associated Press.

Godse believed Gandhi turned his back on Hindus, allowing British India to be divided in 1947 into today's states of India and Pakistan.

In the eyes of Godse and his small band of Hindu extremists, Gandhi's calls for nonviolence were part of a plot to allow Hindus to be slaughtered by Muslims.

On Jan. 30, 1948, Gandhi, a frail 78-year-old, was walking toward the prayer ground in the garden of a New Delhi home when Nathuram Godse shot him to death. Nathuram Godse and another man were hanged.

"We did not want this man to live," Godse said in the interview. "We did not want this man to die a natural death, even if 10 lives were to be lost for that purpose."

After his release from jail, Godse lived in Pune, financed by royalties from books he wrote on Gandhi and the assassination.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife, Sindhu, and two daughters.

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