On this day: India PM Indira Gandhi assassination

Indias prime minister Indira Gandhi lies in state in New Delhi. Picture: GettyIndias prime minister Indira Gandhi lies in state in New Delhi. Picture: Getty
Indias prime minister Indira Gandhi lies in state in New Delhi. Picture: Getty
EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries.

31 October

Halloween. All Saints’ Eve.

The first night of winter when the Celtic year began.

1485: Coronation of King Henry VII started Tudor dynasty in England.

1517: Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Church, Germany, marking the start of the Reformation.

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1828: A beggar woman named Docherty was invited back to a house in Edinburgh by William Burke. William Hare turned up soon after and strangled her. She was the last victim of the body snatchers; her death was discovered and police were called.

1888: Pneumatic bicycle tyres were patented by Scottish inventor John Boyd Dunlop.

1903: Hampden Park, Queen’s Park Football Club’s stadium, opened in Glasgow.

1940: The end of the Battle of Britain. The RAF lost 915 aircraft, the Luftwaffe 1,733.

1951: Zebra crossings came into effect in Britain.

1952: First United States hydrogen bomb detonated at Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, in mid-Pacific.

1955: Princess Margaret announced: “I’d like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Captain Townsend. Mindful of the Church’s teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before any others.”

1956: British and French bombed Egyptian airfields in Suez War.

1971: Three floors of London’s Post Office Tower destroyed by IRA bomb.

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1984: India’s prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in her garden by Sikh bodyguards.

1998: Iraq announced it would no longer co-operate with United Nations weapons inspectors.

2002: A federal grand jury in Houston, Texas indicted former Enron Corporation chief financial officer Andrew Fastow on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice related to the collapse of his ex-employer.

2005: David McLetchie resigned as leader of Scottish Conservatives after allegations about his Scottish Parliament expenses.

2008: Business secretary Lord Mandelson cleared the planned merger between Lloyds TSB and HBOS.


Johnny Marr, guitarist (The Smiths), 51; Major General Michael Collins, astronaut, 84; Sir Peter Jackson, film director, 53; Barrie Keeffe, dramatist, 69; Michael Kitchen, actor, 66; Larry Mullen Jnr, drummer (U2), 53; Tom O’Connor, comedian, 75; Ben Bruce, musician, 23; Adam Horovitz, guitarist and rapper (the Beastie Boys), 48; Mike O’Malley, actor and writer, 48; Vanilla Ice, rapper, 47; Stephen Rea, actor, 68; Gabriela and Monica Irimia, twin sister singers (The Cheeky Girls), 32; Matt Dawson MBE, England rugby World Cup winner and TV personality, 42; Bob Siebenberg, musician (Supertramp), 65; Frank Shorter, Olympic marathon champion, 67.


Births: 1451 Christopher Columbus, explorer; 1632 Jan Vermeer, painter; 1795 John Keats, poet; 1920 Dick Francis CBE, jockey and thriller writer; 1926 Jimmy Savile OBE, presenter; 1950 John Candy, actor and comedian.

Deaths: 1916 Charles Taze Russell, founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses; 1926 Harry Houdini, escapologist; 1984 Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India 1980 to 1984 (assassinated); 1993 River Phoenix, actor; 1993 Federico Fellini, film director; 2006 P W Botha, prime minister and president of South Africa; 2008 Louis “Studs” Terkel, author, historian, actor, broadcaster.