Godse was Nervous, Fearful Before Hanging: Judge Who Heard Appeal

Justice Khosla said that Godse tried to fight the fear by shouting ‘Akhand Bharat’ every few seconds the slogan.

3 min read
Hindi Female

Mahatma Gandhi's assassin, Nathuram Godse, has been in news recently after being called a patriot by BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal, Pragya Thakur.

BJP President Amit Shah, in response, has asked Thakur, along with two other BJP leaders to explain their comments towards Gandhi's killer within 10 days.

All of the controversy began with actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan calling Godse ‘free India's first terrorist’, at a public meeting in Tamil Nadu on 12 May. Four days later, Pragya called Godse a ‘deshbhakt’.

Kamal Haasan later went back on his statement, saying that he had said, Godse was the first ‘extremist’ and not ‘terrorist’. Pragya Thakur also withdrew her statement and apologised for the remark on the same day.

In his book, Justice KD Khosla, who had heard the appeal filed by Godse and his co-convicts in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case, had mentioned that Godse was enraged with Mahatma Gandhi, accusing him of compromising the pride of Hindus and India to appease Muslims, India Today reported.

According to Justice Khosla's book, the plan to kill Gandhi was finalised on 13 January when Gandhi sat on a hunger strike demanding release of Rs 55 crore of funds for Pakistan from the Government of India.

According to the report, one attempt at killing Gandhi had failed about 10 days earlier.

Justice Khosla, according to the India Today report, had given a detailed description of what went down. He said that even before the prayer meet had started, about 200 people were awaiting the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi. Godse was among those people. Upon seeing Mahatma Gandhi approach the prayer meeting, the crowd began to scatter making way for the Mahatma.

As Gandhi raised his hands to join the people in a customary greeting, Godse came forward and fired three shots from point-blank range.

Godse was thrashed by the crowd and was then rescued by the police. A massive hunt later began to arrest other conspirators. Police completed the investigation within five months.

According to the book, the court pronounced the judgment on 10 February 1949 where Godse and Narayan Apte were sentenced to death. Other five convicts were awarded life sentence, the India Today report said.

Justice Khosla was a part of the three-judge bench that heard the appeal of the accused. Godse did not challenge his conviction upon the charge of murder, nor did he question the propriety of the death sentence, according to the report.

Godse and Apte were hanged on 15 November 1949 inside the Ambala jail. Justice Khosla, however, according to the India Today report, said that Godse repented for his deed and declared that if he were to be given another chance, he would spend the rest of his life in the promotion of peace and service of the country.

"The two condemned prisoners were led out of their cells with their hands pinned behind them. Godse walked in front. His step occasionally faltered. His demeanour and general appearance evidenced a state of nervousness and fear," Justice Khosla was quoted by India Today as saying.

Justice Khosla further said that he tried to fight the nervousness and fear by shouting every few seconds the slogan, 'Akhand Bharat (Undivided India)’.

(With inputs from India Today.)

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