Disclaimer: The theories presented in this write-up are through the eyes of the writer and do not represent the views of the magazine. The purpose of this article is to only analyse the event.
“The possibility of a murder and a heart attack has equal chances”, said Anil Shastri, senior Congress leader and son of former Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Whatever happened in the wee hours of January 11 in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in 1966 remains shrouded in mystery. Generations have gone by, but conspiracy theories about what caused Shastri Ji’s death have not ceased.
After signing the Tashkent Accord, at around 4 pm on January 10, Prime Minister Shastri reached the dacha (villa) that was provided to him by his Soviet hosts, 250 yards away from the rest of the delegation.
The Tashkent agreement was aimed at restoring a normal and peaceful relationship between India and Pakistan. Former Prime Minister Shastri and Pakistani President Mohammad Ayub Khan agreed that “both sides will exert all efforts to create good neighbour relations” as per the United Nations Charter.
At around 1:20 am on January 11, the PM complained of lack of breath and started coughing, after which his staff approached his doctor, Dr. R.N. Chugh in the room next to him. The doctor put the PM in a reclining position, following which he lost consciousness within three minutes. His pulse disappeared, breathing stopped and heartbeats couldn’t be heard. Six more doctors arrived at the spot. The first one to arrive was a senior lady doctor named EG Yeremenko. Mr. Shastri was declared dead at 1:33 am.
Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri had suffered two heart attacks in the past. However, the Prime Minister wasn’t even provided with an oxygen tank in his room– something which should be kept in mind while accommodating a heart patient.
Two days later, two identical medical reports were made– one for the Indian government and one for the Soviet government. The reports were said to be exactly similar. However, while one of the reports mentioned the administration of Glucose, Adrenaline and Potassium Chloride to Shastri ji, the other mentioned the administration of Glucose, Adrenaline and Calcium Chloride. It can be said that this could be a translation error from Soviet to English but a mere discrepancy does not explain why only six doctors had signed on the Indian report whereas there were eight signatures on the Soviet one which included the signature of Dr. E.G. Yeremenko, the first doctor to reach the site.
Now, be it any corny Bollywood film or a visit to a heart-patient in the hospital, an oxygen mask is always spotted. Then why is it so that Mr. Shastri was provided with an intramuscular injection, artificial respiration and a massage but no in-tubular oxygen? (It is essential in the treatment of a heart-patient).
Secondly, there are two types of injections: intramuscular (injected directly into the skin) and intravenous (injected directly into the veins). Another difference between the two is that since intravenous injections are administered in the veins, the medicine reaches the system immediately and starts showing effects. In the case of an intramuscular injection, the medicine reaches the system late. To one’s surprise, while Mr. Shastri was on his death bed, he was given an intramuscular injection.
It is hard to believe that none of the eight doctors knew such a common fact of medical science.
According to Mr. K.R. Malkani’s book, when Dr. E.G. Yeremenko was asked why wasn’t she able to revive the Prime Minister; she answered “That would’ve been possible only if death was due to heart failure.”
Coming to motives, Dr. Homi J. Bhabha was given charge of India’s Nuclear Programme by Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri. Coincidentally, Dr. Bhabha died in an aeroplane crash exactly 13 days after Mr. Shastri’s death.
In the book, “Conversations with the Crew”, a high ranking CIA officer, Robert Crowley gave an interview to Gregory Douglas. During the interview Gregory asked Robert, “Who are these jokers?” (Referring to Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri and Dr. Homi J. Bhabha) to which Crowley replied, “They don’t exist anymore and his name was Bhabha.”
He further added, “The cow-loving, ragged looking, stupid leader had come pretty close to building a nuclear bomb with the help of Bhabha. And it had become crucial for us to get him out of the way and we got rid of that ragged-looking leader at the blink of an eye. We knocked up Bhabha and nailed Shastri.”
There were only two witnesses in Lal Bahadur Shastri’s case– his personal assistant Ram Nath and his doctor, Dr. R.N. Chugh. Dr. Chugh met with a car accident which resulted in the death of him and his wife. A while later, Ram Nath also met with a car accident which left him crippled and eventually, he too died.
The second Prime Minister of the World’s largest democracy goes to Tashkent, signs a War Treaty and dies. Thousands of suspicions are raised but there is no investigation done by the CBI, the IB or the SIT. Not even an inquiry commission was set up.
Supposedly, a post-mortem wasn’t conducted as there wasn’t a strong reason for doubt to carry one out. A few hours after Shastri’s death, when his body was still in Tashkent, the 9th Director of KGB arrested Russian butler Ahmed Sattarov, his fellow cooks and the personal cook of T.N. Kaul (The Indian Ambassador to Moscow) Jan Mohammad on the charges of poisoning Mr. Shastri. Is it possible that the cook of an Indian Ambassador was arrested on the charges of poisoning our PM and the Intelligence doesn’t know? Isn’t that a strong enough reason to carry out a post-mortem?
When Shastri ji’s body arrived at the airport, his face and body had turned blue and there were white spots on his forehead. Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sons spoke to some renowned cardiologists who further confirmed that the white spots on his temple were conclusive of either a snake bite or a poison which causes brain haemorrhage.
In addition to that, two British doctors, Dr. Liam West and Dr. Spyro said that the blue colour is very consistent with natural death as the body turns blue when it starts to decompose. However, without a post-mortem and toxicological studies, it was impossible to say that Mr. Shastri wasn’t poisoned.
All these facts were concealed from people due to selective reporting and confidentiality at the end of the Indian government. Indeed, “Whatever happened in Tashkent, stayed in Tashkent.”
– Aayushi Bawa, Amity International School, Noida5 Likes