In 1991, she was the last Indian journalist to interview Rajiv Gandhi and a few metres away from him when a female LTTE suicide bomber blew herself up and killed the former Indian Prime Minister. Twenty-five years later, Neena Gopal, the then young journalist, returns to the picture to tell a bigger story in her new book “The Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi”, unearthing, among other matters, the role India’s intelligence arm, the Research and Analysis Wing, played in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict that dragged on for three decades. The Sunday Times today carries extracts from the book.
Neena Gopal: A journalist for thirty-seven years, Neena Gopal began her career in a Bangalore that was the hotbed of post-Emergency politics. Moving to the UAE in the 1980s, she worked for the Dubai-based daily Gulf News where, as Foreign Editor, she travelled in the Middle East during and after Operation Desert Storm, the first Gulf War in 1990, covering war-torn Iraq and its neighbours through the Second Gulf War in 2003. Neena’s other news-hunting ground has been India and its immediate neighbourhood, both as a foreign affairs journalist and as a close observer of the life and times of many leaders in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. She currently edits the Bangalore edition of the Deccan Chronicle.
Neena Gopal: “I was with Rajiv Gandhi in the last 45 minutes of his life,” 20 August 2016,
- DR Kaarthikeyan & R. Raju: The Rajiv Gandhi Assassination. The Investigation.
- RK Raghavan: “The Killing of Rajiv Gandhi. Frontline Volume 21/10, 8-20th May 2004
- Michael Roberts: “Killing Rajiv Gandhi: Sacrificial Metamorphosis?” 6 January 2010, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/killing-rajiv-gandhi-dhanus-sacrificial-met-in-death/– abstract of article in South Asian History and Culture, 2010; Number: 1
- Michael Roberts: “Death and Eternal Life: contrasting sensibilities in the face of corpses,” 29 June 2011, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/death-and-eternal-life-contrasting-sensibilities-in-the-face-of-corpses/
- Michael Roberts: “Suicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 2007, 30: 857-88.
- Michael Roberts: “Saivite Symbolism, Sacrifice and Tamil Tiger Rites”, Social Analysis 2005, vol. 49: 67-93.
- Michael Roberts: “Pragmatic Action & Enchanted Worlds: A Black Tiger Rite Of Commemoration,” Social Analysis 2006, 50: 73-102.
- Michael Roberts: “Tamil Tigers: Sacrificial Symbolism and ‘Dead Body Politics’,” Anthropology Today, June 2008, 24/3: 22-23.