Rahul’s padyatra: Man with revolver detained

A man carrying a pistol was arrested just a few feet away from Rahul Gandhi by the commandos guarding him during his padyatra in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district on Thursday.

Tappal, Uttar Pradesh: In a security scare for Rahul
Gandhi, a young man carrying a licensed revolver was detained
while trying to move close to the Congress leader during his
padayatra Thursday in Aligarh district in Uttar Pradesh.

The man with a licensed .32 bore revolver was nabbed
in this village by Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel
accompanying Rahul when he was found heading towards the
second ring of the AICC General Secretary`s security cordon.

Harikrishan Sharma was picked up at around 8.30 am and
was immediately handed over to the UP Police. Locals said he
belonged to Tappal village and claimed that he is a Congress

The UP police claimed that the incident was not a
"blatant security breach" and that Sharma is a "properly
verified" resident of nearby Udaipur village.

It however utilised the incident to slam the padayatra
from the security point of view, saying this kind of "risks"
are very much there when there is an "unannounced" movement.
It is also a "free for all kind of a thing," Aligarh SSP
Satyendra Vir Singh said.

Sharma is currently being interrogated by the police.
He reportedly did not attempt to brandish or use the firearm.

The incident took place two hours after Rahul resumed
his footmarch to Aligarh to make common cause with farmers in
the state over Mayawati government "forcibly" acquiring land
from farmers at cheap prices. Prohibitory orders under Section
144 CrPC remains in force in Aligarh where the padayatra will
culminate in the kisan mahapanchayat on Saturday.

SSP Singh said, "It is not blatant security breach. He
(Sharma) is a properly verified person. There is nothing
adverse against him in the police records, that is why he was
issued a license for his revolver after proper police
verification. His intentions of being present there are
absolutely clear. There is no malafide."

Rahul is in Tappal on the third day of his padayatra
and was headed towards Aligarh town for the Congress-backed
`kisan mahapanchayat` on Saturday. Five persons, including a
policemen and four farmers, were killed in violent protests at
Tappal in August 2010 during the agitation by farmers.

SSP Singh said that as a professional police officer he
can say that "proper" security norms for Rahul`s padayatra
have not been followed at all.

He said Sharma belonged to nearby Udaipur village and
that he was passing by in his own Alto car with his wife when
he saw some VIP movement.

"It was by chance that he (Sharma) was passing through
that route. He stood there just out of curiousity to meet the
VIP. He got out of anxiety. It was out of chance that he was
carrying his licensed weapon, a revolver. The SPG personnel
caught hold of this man and handed him over to the local
police," he said.

Referring to Rahul`s unannounced movement, Singh said
"We do not know the route he is taking, the places he is going
to visit, the places he is going to halt. So it is a free for
all kind of a thing."

Singh further said that the persons surrounding Rahul
are not security cleared.

"They have not been frisked or checked. It is the job
of the local police but for that we must be informed of the
route he is going to take. All these routes should be cleared
and sanitised," he added.


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