Churchill took hardline on Gandhi

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Winston Churchill favoured letting Gandhi die if he went on hunger strike, newly published Cabinet papers show. The UK's WWII prime minister thought India's spiritual leader should be treated like anyone else if he stopped eating while being held by the British. But his ministers persuaded him against the tactic, fearing Gandhi would become a martyr if he died in British hands.

Gandhi was detained in 1942 after he condemned India's involvement in the war but never went on hunger strike.

Many British officials initially took a hardline stance to the possibility of such action.

The Viceroy of then British-run India, Lord Linlithgow, said he was "strongly in favour of letting Gandhi starve to death".

But senior government figures, such as former foreign secretary Lord Halifax argued: "Whatever the disadvantages of letting him out, his detention would be much worse."

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