October 4, 2022

Gandhi Murder case-5: When Godse and Aapte arrived Delhi to kill Gandhi

For better understanding, read this article- Gandhi Murder case-4: When Godse told one of the accused Bagde how he is going to murder Gandhi

The lawmatics Series- Gandhi Murder Case- Part-5

After the failure of their first plane to assassinate Ganadhi on 20th January, Godse and company again conspired to assassinate Gandhi and drew a foolproof plan.

Godse and Apte arrived at Delhi, by plane, at 12.40 p.m. on January 27. The same afternoon they left for Gwalior by train, reaching there at 10.38 p.m. They drove in a tonga to the house of Dr. Parchure, and stayed the night with him. The object of their visit was to procure a pistol which would fire accurately. In this they were successful, and a pistol was obtained from one Goel who was a member of Dr. Parchure’s volunteer corps.

Godse and Apte then returned to Delhi, reaching there on the morning of the 29th. They engaged a retiring-room at the Old Delhi railway station, and stayed there till the next morning. Karkare had in the meantime come to Delhi, on the 28th, by train, and in pursuance of a prearranged plan he met Godse and Apte at the gate of the Birla Temple at noon on the 29th. Godse told him that a pistol had been procured from Gwalior, and that everything was ready for the final accomplishment of their plan. Godse was in a grim mood and began to explain his motives for taking the entire burden upon himself.

‘Apte has responsibilities. He has a wife and child. I have no family. Moreover, I am an orator and a writer; I shall be able to justify my act and impress the Government and the court of my good faith in killing Gandhi. Now, Apte, on the other hand, is a man of the world. He can contact people and carry on the Hindu Rashtra. You must help him in the conduct of the newspaper and carry on the work of the Hindu Mahasabha’, said Godse.

In the evening Karkare suggested a visit to the cinema, but Godse repelled the suggestion saying that he wanted to rest. Apte insisted, arguing that a little diversion would take his mind to the business to the following day and cheer him up. But Godse turned away and began reading a book. So Apte and Karkare left him and spent three hours entertaining themselves at the first cinema house they came to.

On the morning of the 30th Godse appeared calm and self-possessed, but a close observer could discern signs of an inner agitation which was battling with a determination to meet his doom with the resignation of a fatalist. He was up first of all, and was bathed and dressed while Apte and Karkare were still asleep. All three had a light breakfast and then drove in a tonga to New Delhi. After paying off the tonga they walked to a thick forest not far from where they had alighted, and Godse fired three or four rounds from his pistol while Karkare standing on a high rock kept watch. Godse was satisfied with the performance of his weapon, and the party returned to Old Delhi.

Godse spoke very little in the afternoon and continued to wear a determined expression. To Karkare he said: ‘you will miss me the next time.’ What he meant by ‘next time’ was not quite clear. At 4.30 p.m. he hired a tonga, and, waving a final good-bye, drove away. Karkare and Apte followed him to Birla House in another tonga a few minutes later. The prayer meeting had not yet started, but a crowd of about 200 persons was awaiting the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi.

Godse was moving among the people apparently unconcerned. Suddenly, there was a stirring in the crowd, and everyone stood up to form a passage for Mahatma Gandhi, who was seen coming up slowly with his hands resting on the shoulders of two girls who were walking by his side. As he raised his hands to join them in the customary greeting, Godse took a quick step forward, pushed aside the girl on Gandhiji’s right and, standing in front of him, fired three shots in quick succession at point-blank range. Mahatma Gandhi collapsed and fell down, saying ‘Hai Ram’.

Godse made no attempt to escape. He was caught, and the people nearest to him fell upon him in an attempt to belabour him. A police officer who was present rescued him and led him away from the fury of the crowd. In the panic that followed, Apte and Karkare came out with the people rushing from Birla House. They made ‘ their way to the Old Delhi railway station and returned to Bombay.

Events now moved rapidly. The field of investigation was widened ‘to cover the entire country, and the tempo was accelerated. Arrests followed in quick succession. Badge was taken into custody on January 31, Gopal Godse on February 5 and Dr. Parchure was apprehended from his house in Gwalior the same day. Shankar was arrested on February 6, and Apte and Karkare on February 14. Prolonged interrogation of the prisoners took place, and long statements were made by each one of them. Hundreds of persons were examined, and at last the complete picture of the conspiracy and the manner of its execution were pieced together.

Reference

As mentioned in the book ‘The Murder of Mahatma’ by G.D.Khosla (Formerly Chief Justice of Punjab, who heard the appeal of Nathuram Godse & others and gave his most historic verdict in the case of assassination), First Published: 1965