Free Press Journal

Political Throwback! Watch in 1987 prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was attacked by Sri Lankan sailor with a rifle

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Tales of former PM Rajiv Gandhi can be told over and over again, his journey to becoming the prime minister of the country overnight was not a normal one. He became the prime minister and he passed away while wanting to be the prime minister. The stories of him are countless but one of his most famous stories is, when he was attacked by Sri Lankan sailor Wijemuni Vijitha Rohana De Silva in the year 1987. Wijemuni was an angry young man when he took a sudden decision to reverse his rifle and have a swipe at Rajiv Gandhi, he hit him on his head during the naval guard of honour at the Sri Lankan President’s house. Rajiv Gandhi was barely three feet away when Wijemuni was seized by an uncontrollable urge to strike.

Wijemuni in an interview with Daily Mirror spoke about his anger and told why he attacked Rajiv Gandhi, “I was waiting at the guard-of-honour I was restless and angry over what India and prime minister Gandhi had done to our country. But it was too late as the accord had already been signed. This had made me more angry and I thought I must do something to avenge the disaster caused to our country. I was thinking how India was helping the LTTE with money, arms and military training. The idea to attack with the rifle struck my mind when Rajiv Gandhi was about two or three feet away from me”, he said.


Wijemuni was sentenced to six years in prison for attacking Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi with his rifle butt. The court acquitted Vijayamuni Vijitha Rohana, on the original charge of attempted murder, and convicted him on a lesser charge of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’.

But he was released after two years of serving his term by former President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

After the release Wijemuni became full time astrologer, and he says that he has nothing personal against Rajiv Gandhi nor did he want to extract revenge from the Indian people.

 “I only protested against Gandhi for helping the LTTE,” he said, adding he had sent his condolences to Gandhi’s family when the former Indian premier was assassinated in 1991 by a suspected LTTE suicide bomber.