Sunday, May 28, 2017

299 persons have got central security cover

The Sunday Guardina: Abhinandan Mishra: New Delhi: Sunday, May 28, 2017.
The Central government as of today has given security cover to 299 individuals. This list of 299 people is apart from the security provided to individuals by the different state governments and union territories.
Out of this 299 people, category “Y+” security has been provided to 145 individuals. The Y+ category security has a cover of at least 11 security personnel, followed by “X category”, which has a cover of two personnel. The “X” security cover has been given to 68 individuals.
Similarly, 59 individuals have been given “Z category” security, which has 24 personnel guarding the individual. “Z+” cover has been given to 26 individuals who enjoy the most detailed cover, with 38 personnel around them. One individual has been given “Y category” security, which includes 11 security personnel.
In the same time period, two years ago, the number of individuals enjoying security cover provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was 275. This information was shared by the VIP Security Unit of MHA with The Sunday Guardian while responding to an RTI application filed by this reporter.
According to MHA officials, the primary responsibility of providing security cover to an individual rests with the state government and the categorised security to any threatened person is periodically reviewed, due to which it varies over time.
The MHA declined to share the details of the individuals who are enjoying the security cover and the time from when the security cover was given to them, the ground for providing the security cover, and from how many individuals the security cover was withdrawn during the last six years. 
The MHA stated that “the names/details of protectees, number of security personnel deployed, documents related to provision of security, inputs received from Central security agencies are exempted under section 8(1)(g), 8(1)(j) and 24 (1) of the RTI act.”
Apart from the SPG (Special Protection Group) and NSG (National Security Guards), which are responsible for handling VIP security, personnel from ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) too are drawn for providing securities to VVIPs, VIPs, politicians, high-profile celebrities and sportspersons.
In the maximum number of cases, according to MHA officials, security cover is provided due to external influence rather than genuine threat assessments as many VIPs see the security cover as a status symbol. This list includes, according to officials, even journalists.
“The trend of giving security cover to journalists started in the last six-seven years and now we are getting more and more requests from them. In many cases there is no threat assessment but we are forced to give security cover (mostly X category) due to political pressure,” the official said.