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Breach in Rahul's security, man with pistol held

Jul 07, 2011 08:43 AM IST Politics Politics

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

The man with a .32 bore revolver was nabbed by the Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel in this village in Aligarh district when he was found nearing the second ring of the Congress leader's security cordon.

The 35-year-old man named Kishan Chand was nabbed by the SPG personnel at around 8.30 AM and he was 500 metres away from the Congress scion when he was caught. He is currently being interrogated by the Uttar Pradesh police. He did not attempt to brandish or use the firearm.

Rahul's SPG cover has been tightened. Though it's a security breach, local authorities say Kishan Chand is a bonafide resident of the village and had gone to the area to shake hands with Rahul Gandhi.

Locals said he belongs to Tappal village and claimed that he is a Congress worker.

The incident took place two hours after Gandhi resumed his footmarch to Aligarh to make common cause with farmers in the state over land acquisition. Today's is Gandhi's third day of padayatra.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi took another jibe at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati during his padyatra across the state's villages.

"The entire Uttar Pradesh is divided. The major problem is that the state is being run by dalals (middlemen)," he said.

It's the third day of Rahul Gandhi's 4-day padyatra. The Congress General Secretary is headed to Zikarpur where three farmers were killed last year in anti-land acquisition protests.

Rahul stayed in Tappal in Aligarh on Wednesday evening at a villager's house, eating a simple meal of roti and sabzi. He is expected to make impromptu stops, and continue his interaction with farmers.

Rahul has been joined by Youth Congress leaders Meenakshi Natarajan and Ravnet Bittoo. Sources say they have been sent as back-up in case the Maya administration picks on Rahul.

Meanwhile Section 144 remains in Aligarh where the padyatra will culminate in the Kisan Mahapanchayat on Saturday.

(With additional information from PTI)