The Tashkent Files: 8 Conspiracy Theories Surrounding Lal Bahadaur Shastri’s Death

Shastri's death on the night of 11 January 1966 gave birth to several conspiracies and mysteries, some of which you'll see in The Tashkent Files.

1. What about the records of first inquiry into Shastri's death? Where are they?

Ex PM Lal Bahadur Shastri
(Source: Twitter)

Lal Bahadur Shastri traveled to Tashkent in Uzbekistan to formally end the 1965 India-Pakistan war on 10 January 1966. The very next day after signing a peace agreement, the then Indian Prime Minister was found dead in his hotel room. Allegedly, he passed away from a heart attack. But the needle of suspicion reared its head, giving birth to several conspiracies and mysteries surrounding Shastri’s death. Recently, Vivek Agnihotri attempted to draw attention to these very theories in his film The Tashkent Files, thereby raising many brows. Ahead of the film’s world digital premiere on 73rd Independence Day 15 August 2019, we take a look at eight such questions pertaining to the death of an Indian leader.

Before we proceed, it is mention-worthy that we do not support or encourage any of these or other theories. This article only intends to inform about the reasons that are widely believed to be involved in the event.

The foremost theory is, what happened to the documents and paperwork that must have taken place after an Indian Prime Minister died in a foreign land? The Raj Narain Inquiry, supposedly, failed to come up with any conclusions. The library at the Indian Parliament, however, has no records of this inquiry. Whatever may be the concluding argument of the inquiry, why is the report missing? Or has it been suppressed or destroyed?

2. Why wasn't a post-mortem conducted? Or, maybe there was?

Lal Bahadur Shastri smiling
(Source: Twitter)

There was only one definite way of finding the cause of Shastriji’s death – post-mortem on his body. Despite the fact that Shastri’s family demanded it, the Indian government did not conduct one. Lalita, Shastri’s wife, and other family members, friends couldn’t make sense of the cut marks on Shastri’s body. Moreover, his body was blue which happens if it is embalmed.

So if there was no post-mortem done on the mortal remains, what were those cut marks? If there indeed was one conducted, where are the reports?

3. Was Shastri poisoned?

Lal Bahadur Shastri's death
(Source: Instagram)

When Shastriji’s mother saw her son’s dead body, she cried, “Mere bitwa ko jahar de diya!” His personal doctor RN Chugh had said that Shastri never had any heart problems, thus, there is a slim chance that a heart attack killed him. Besides, since no post-mortem was allegedly conducted, the puncture marks could be due to poisoning.

4. The witnesses died right before they were supposed to testify

A picture of Lal Bahadur Shastri
(Source: Twitter)

Shastri’s death was witnessed by two persons – one was his personal doctor Dr RN Chugh, other his servant Ram Nath. Chugh died on his way to testify in front of a committee in 1977 after he was hit by a truck. Ram, too, was hit by a car and lost his legs and memory.

5. Did CIA kill Shastri?

A photo of Lal Bahadur Shastri smiling
(Source: Twitter)

CIA agent Robert Crowley had indeed confirmed in an interview that the CIA had a hand in the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri and even Dr. Homi Bhabha (father of Nuclear Science in India). Apparently, because Shastri gave the go-ahead for nuclear tests, the US  felt threatened by India’s advancements and the Indo-Russian dominance.

6. Was the Russian butler attached to Shastri involved?

Lal Bahadur Shastri on a tank
(Source: Twitter)

Ahmed Sattarov was the Russian butler attached to Shastri on his trip to Tashkent. He was handcuffed and taken by the KGB (in charge of the VIPs’ security). Later, he walked scot-free.

7. Why was a district authority investigating a Prime Minister's death?

A photo of Lal Bahadur Shastri with a farmer
(Source: Twitter)

The Home Ministry directed the Delhi Police and the National Archives to retrieve documents or any information related to a sitting PM’s death. Shastri’s son found it ‘absurd and silly.’

8. No response to RTIs?

Lal Bahadur Shastri - Jai Jawan Jai Kisan
(Source: Twitter)

Anuj Dhar, the author of CIA’s Eye on South Asia, filed an RTI related to Shastri’s death. The reply he received from the PMO stated there was only one classified document which could not be declassified as it may disrupt foreign relations.

Senior journalist Kuldip Nayar, who was in Tashkent when Shastri died, was told “No such record related to the death of the former Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri is available in this district… Hence the requisite information pertaining to New Delhi district may please be treated as nil.”

Needless to say, many twists and turns have taken place in the matter of Shastri’s death. What do you think about the event?

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