A 1:58 minutes long video of the Associated Press’s coverage of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to the Rajghat in 1986 is being widely circulated on social media. The video has been shared with the claim that the SPG (Special Protection Group) noticed some movement behind a bush during Gandhi’s visit, immediately fired shots and killed a man. The claim further adds that it was later found that the victim was a beggar.
Below is a tweet by BJYM national VP Neeraj Jain.
राजीव गांधी PM थे
राजघाट पर प्रार्थना के लिए गए थे तभी झाड़ियों में कुछ हलचल हुई एक व्यक्ति SPG को नजर आया तुरंत Spg ने गोली चला दी !
बाद में पता चला कि वह व्यक्ति एक भिखारी था ! आज यही कांग्रेसी कह रहे हैं क्या @narendramodi पर किसी ने पत्थर फेंके क्या किसी ने गोली चलाई pic.twitter.com/znTR3nayu0
— Neeraj Jain हिंदुस्तानी (@neeraj_jain75) January 8, 2022
#मोदी_डरपोक है ?😠
तब #राजीव गांधी प्रधानमंत्री थे, एक दिन राजघाट पर प्रार्थना के लिए गए थे
अचानक झाड़ियों में कुछ हलचल हुई और एक व्यक्ति SPG/NSG वालो को नजर आया,इसे एक खतरा समझकर तुरंत पोजीशन लिया और उस व्यक्ति को गोलियों से #भून डाला
बाद में पता चला कि वह व्यक्ति एक भिखारी था pic.twitter.com/CP4Xbc5dvv
— काननकुमार 🇮🇳 (@KananHTrivedi) January 9, 2022
राजीव गांधी प्रधानमंत्री थे
राजघाट पर प्रार्थना के लिए गए, तभी झाड़ियों में कुछ हलचल हुई एक व्यक्ति SPG को नजर आया और उस व्यक्ति को गोलियों से भून डाला गया
बाद में पता चला कि वह व्यक्ति एक भिखारी था जो रात को वही राजघाट पर सो जाता था
और ये कहते है राजीव को डर नहीं लगता था। pic.twitter.com/LkDddLueQR
— हम लोग We The People (@humlogindia) January 8, 2022
It has been shared against the backdrop of protestors blocking PM Modi’s convoy on a flyover in Punjab, which was termed as a ‘security breach’ by the Home Ministry and a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister by news channels supportive of the BJP.
We performed a keyword search on Google and found the original video by the Associated Press on its AP archive YouTube channel. According to the video description, in October 1986, PM Rajiv Gandhi while attending the anniversary celebration of late Mahatma Gandhi, was shot at by a Sikh man hiding in a gazebo. The man was captured and Rajiv Gandhi was unharmed.
The Washington Post’s report from October 3, 1986, confirms that shots were fired by the lone gunman using a homemade weapon that slightly wounded six people. The gunman was taken into custody. He had initially identified himself as Manmohan Desai but changed his name several times. The same was reported by Los Angeles Times. The report by Los Angeles Times also adds that in an attempt to maintain calm, a police spokesman announced that the gunman had no connection to Sikh extremists.
A report by India Today, published almost after a month after the assassination attempt, provides full details of that day, including how the lone gunman was taken into custody. India Today mentions the identity of the lone gunman as one Karamjit Singh.
Singh’s interview can be watched below.
To summarise, when PM Rajiv Gandhi was visiting Rajghat on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a lone gunman attempted to assassinate him but failed and was taken into custody. The claim that the SPG shot at a beggar is false. No one died in the firing but six people suffered minor injuries.