Fake Viral

No, SPG didn’t shoot a beggar to protect Rajiv Gandhi

Written by Md Mahfooz Alam

An Associated Press video clip of Rajiv Gandhi attending a prayer ceremony in Rajghat is viral on social media. The claim along with the video is being made that SPG shot a mentally disabled beggar to protect the former Prime Minister after some movement in a nearby bush.

In the video, the former PM can be seen attending a prayer ceremony along with his wife Sonia Gandi and gunshots can also be heard.

Facto News investigated the video and found the claim is misleading.

Neeraj Jain, a BJP leader posted the video on Twitter with the caption that reads: 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”

(Translation: ⁦Rajiv Gandhi was the PM, went for prayer at Rajghat, when there was some movement in the bushes, a person SPG was seen, immediately Spg opened fire! Later it was found that the man was a beggar. Today the same Congressmen are saying did anyone throw stones at ⁦@narendramodi did anyone fire.)

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

Several other users on Twitter made the same claim. An archive version of the same can be accessed here, here, here and here.

The video clip with the same claim is viral on Facebook also.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

FactO Check: 

We fragmented the video into keyframes using the InVID chrome extension. On reverse image searching the frames on Google, we found the same video uploaded on YouTube on the verified archive channel of Associated Press.

According to the description of the video, on 2 October 1986, while attending the anniversary celebration of Mahatma Gandhi, an assassination attempt of Rajiv Gandhi was made by a gunman Karamjit Singh. There is no information about the SPG shooting, however, it says that the former PM was unharmed and Singh was captured.

(Source: YouTube/Screenshot)

Using a keyword search, we came across a news report of The Washinton Post of 3 October 1986, which confirms Rajiv Gandhi and other top Indian officials escaped assassination; however, six men were slightly injured. The gunman was taken into custody who police believed had fired the shot by homemade pistol. There is no such report of SPG shooting the gunmen in the article.

(Source: The Washington Post/Screenshot)

An India Today article of 31 October 1986 explains in detail the security lapse of the former Prime Minister and it also names the gunmen Karamjit Singh who was taken into police custody after the assassination attempt. The detailed article neither confirms that the gunmen nor any beggar were shot by the SPG.

An interview of  Karamjit Singh in which he says why he wanted to kill Rajiv Gandhi.


The above findings conclude that the claim of SPG shooting any mentally disabled beggar or gunmen to protect Rajiv Gandhi is completely false and misleading.

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About the author

Md Mahfooz Alam

Mahfooz is a multimedia journalist and regularly writes fact-check stories for Facto News. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. He has worked as an intern fact-checker for The Quint. He specializes in research and fact-checking and aspires to do investigative reporting.

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