English, Fake News
 

A beggar was not shot dead by the police in an attempt to thwart the 1986 assassination attempt on Rajiv Gandhi

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A video through a post is being widely shared on social media claiming that when Rajiv Gandhi went to Raj Ghat, a beggar who was considered a threat was shot at by the SPG. This post is viral in the light of the security failure of Prime Minister Modi in Punjab. Let us fact-check the claim made in the post.

Claim: Video of SPG killing a beggar on the suspicion of a threat to Rajiv Gandhi.

Fact: In an attempted assassination in 1986 on the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi in Raj Ghat, six persons were injured, and no one was killed. According to various news reports and official press releases, there was no mention of any beggar being killed by the SPG. The person who shot at the Prime Minister was reportedly named as ‘Karamjit Singh’ who was sentenced to 14 years in prison and was freed only in May 2000. Hence, the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.

When reverse image search is done on the screenshots of the video, with relevant keywords, the same video was found on YouTube. The video was uploaded on the Associated Press Archive YouTube channel. According to the video description, the visuals were part of an attempted assassination on 02 October 1986 on the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi. While attending the birth anniversary program of the late Mahatma Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi was shot at by a ‘Sikh hiding in a gazebo’. “The man was captured and Gandhi unharmed.”

According to an official Press Release by the Press Information Bureau issued on the same day, the person who fired shots at the Prime Minister was arrested and a country-made weapon was seized from him. “He first gave his name as Manmohan Desai but has changed his name several times.” There is no mention of a beggar being killed by the SPG.  

After the incident at Rajghat in 1986, the central government had constituted an inquiry committee to enquire into the incident. The committee was headed by Shri B.G. Deshmukh, the then Cabinet Secretary.

There are many news reports (here and here) that were published after the incident in 1986 which stated that six persons were wounded but no one was killed. In a report by India Today, there was even a picture of the person who shot at the Prime Minister; he was named ‘Karamjit’. According to a 2009 article, Karamjit Singh was sentenced to 14 years in prison and was freed only in May 2000. There was no mention of any beggar being killed by the SPG in any of these news reports.

To sum it up, 1986 Video of an attempted assassination on Rajiv Gandhi in Raj Ghat is falsely shared with a claim that a beggar was killed by the SPG on the suspicion of a threat to the then Prime Minister.

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