Fact Check: Did SPG shoot a beggar to protect Rajiv Gandhi in 1986?

Evidently, a lone gunman made an abortive bid to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. The claim that the SPG shot at a beggar is false. No one died in the firing.

By Misha Rajani  Published on  11 Jan 2022 10:19 AM GMT
Fact Check: Did SPG shoot a beggar to protect Rajiv Gandhi in 1986?

Hyderabad: Associated Press' report about former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi attending the anniversary celebration of the late Mahatma Gandhi at the Rajghat in 1986 is viral on social media.

Social media users claim that the SPG (Special Protection Group) noticed some movement behind a bush during the event and fired shots in which a man was killed. It is claimed that the victim was a beggar.

BJYM national VP Neeraj Jain tweeted: "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."




The claim is viral on Facebook and Twitter.


The video is being shared against the backdrop of PM Modi's convoy being blocked by farmers on a flyover in Punjab. Ministry of Home Affairs has termed it as a 'security breach'.

Fact Check:

NewsMeter found the original video uploaded by the Associated Press. According to the description, in October 1986, there was an assassination attempt on Rajiv Gandhi when he was attending the anniversary celebration of the late Mahatma Gandhi. He was shot at by a man hiding in a gazebo. He was later captured. Rajiv Gandhi was unharmed in the incident.


According to reports by Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, Rajiv Gandhi and other Indian officials escaped from the apparent assassination attempt. The police questioned the lone gunman who they believe fired the shots. Six persons were slightly wounded during the firing.

A report by India Today details the time and place of the assassination attempt and the arrest of the gunman. The gunman was identified as Karamjit Singh.

Singh's interview was broadcast by Living India News.


Evidently, a lone gunman made an abortive bid to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. The claim that the SPG shot at a beggar is false. No one died in the firing.

Claim Review:SPG shot a beggar when former PM Rajiv Gandhi attended the anniversary celebration of the late Mahatma Gandhi at the Rajghat in 1986
Claimed By:Social media users
Claim Reviewed By:NewsMeter
Claim Source:Social media
Claim Fact Check:False
Next Story
Share it