For about 30 minutes on Saturday evening, India held its breath as TV channels went berserk with ‘breaking news’ that a gunman had been held at a rally about to be addressed by Sonia Gandhi.
The excitement lasted till the time the ‘gunman’ was identified as a Congress worker fresh out of a toyshop where he had purchased a gift for his little son.
The confusion was apparently caused by a policeman at the entrance to the rally at Karaikudi, who frisked the man and shouted, “It’s a loaded gun.”
As the security establishment flew into a tizzy, the man was whisked away, searched and questioned by intelligence officials.
Later, a senior officer said the ‘loaded gun’ was only a plastic toy that the man, a party worker from Thiruthuraipoondi named Sivashanmugavel, had bought for his son on the way to the rally. “He sounded innocent, but we detained him at the security booth till Sonia Gandhi left the venue,” Sivaganga district police superintendent Thriugnanam said.