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Anti-Terrorism Day 2024: Background and Significance

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 21-05-2024
Anti-Terrorism Day 2024: Background  and Significance Important Day 5 min read

In India, Anti-Terrorism Day is observed on 21 May to mark the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi by a suicide bomber of the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Elam (LTTE), Kalaivani Rajaratnam alias Dhanu on 21 May 1991, during an election campaign at Sriperumbudur, a village near Chennai. The day is observed to highlight the menace of terrorism on the people and society and to alert against the danger of terrors.

Background to the Anti-Terrorism Day 

The P.V. Narasimha Rao-led Congress government, which came to power after the 1991 election, declared 21 May as an anti-terrorism day to pay tribute to Rajiv Gandhi and to promote awareness about the consequences of terrorist activities.

The first anti-terrorism day was observed on 21 May 1992

Who was Rajiv Gandhi?

Rajiv Gandhi was the 6th prime minister of India (31 October 1984-2 December 1989). He was the youngest person to become the prime minister of India at the age of 40 years in 1984 after the assassination of his mother, Indira Gandhi.

He is the only prime minister to have won more than 400 seats in the Lok Sabha election. In the 1984 election, the Congress party won 401 seats out of 508.

He is credited with introducing computers in schools in India, which laid the foundation for India's becoming an IT superpower.

India Sri Lanka Peace Accord 

In 1987, Rajiv Gandhi signed a peace accord with Sri Lankan President Jaywardene to resolve the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was ravaged by civil war between minority Tamils and the majority Sinhala population. Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)was the main militant group of the Tamils and wanted an independent country for Tamils in Sri Lanka. Under the peace accord, the LTTE was to lay down their arms and give up their demand for a separate Tamil country. In return, the Sri Lankan government was to give substantial autonomy to the Tamil-dominated North and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka.

India was to keep the peace between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil militants, and it sent its Army, which was known as the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). The LTTE refused to lay down its arms, and a war erupted between IPKF and LTTE.

The LTTE  later killed Rajiv Gandhi for his role in the Sri Lankan peace process, which it viewed as a betrayal of the Tamil cause. 

What is Terrorism?

There is no acceptable definition of terrorism in the world. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has defined terrorism as a method of coercion that utilises or threatens to utilise violence in order to spread fear and thereby attain political or ideological goals

The term “terrorism” was initially coined to describe the Reign of Terror, the period of the French Revolution from 5 September 1793 to 27 July 1794, during which the Revolutionary Government directed violence and harsh measures against citizens suspected of being enemies of the Revolution. 


Answer: 21 May

Answer: Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed on 21 May 1991 in Sriperumbudur, a village near Chennai, by an LTTE suicide bomber.

Answer: It is a place in Tamil Nadu where an LTTE suicide bomber, Dhanu, killed Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

Answer: Rajiv Gandhi was 40 years old when he became prime minister on 31 October 1984.

Answer: Rajiv Gandhi, of the Congress party, won 401 out of 504 Lok Sabha seats in the 1984 general election.
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