The State police intelligence has informed the government that the threat perception to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has significantly increased and his security categorisation should be upgraded for better protection of the VIP.
Mr. Chandy is the focal point of an “increasingly confrontational” State-wide Opposition protest campaign aimed at forcing his resignation in connection with the Team Solar financial fraud controversy.
Considerably large groups of “purposeful persons believed to be Opposition activists” have attacked the Chief Minister’s motorcade with stones and eggs at several public functions recently. The frequency of such attacks is likely to increase in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the intelligence wing said.
The police line of thinking is: “if you can throw an egg at the Chief Minister’s car, you can aim a crude explosive as well”. The fact that Mr. Chandy often prefers to travel with his car window down is a matter of concern for members of his close proximity security team, which included armed commandos in plainclothes to provide subtle security cover.
Hence the Chief Minister’s motorcade urgently required to be further insulated “from everything ranging from rush-hour traffic to stones and eggs”, officials said. This would entail enhanced grassroots level threat assessment, route reconnaissance and site security management.
Such a move, however, was likely to inconvenience the public. The police would need to block traffic and even temporarily take control of the traffic signalling system to allow the Chief Minister’s motorcade to move fast to its destination.
Conflict avoidance, chiefly by interacting with local-level Opposition leaders, was also high on the agenda of the State police. A senior official said this had not worked always. The democratic right to assemble and protest was in many recent instances used as a cover to physically target the Chief Minister. Hence, the police would be forced, in the coming days, to prevent protesters from mustering in strength near the venues of public functions attended by the Chief Minister
The police said they have also not discounted the possibility that a ruling front supporter could infiltrate Opposition activists and carry out an attack with the intention of shoring up public sympathy for the “beleaguered” Chief Minister.
The police intelligence has also warned of possible street-level conflicts between Opposition activists and government supporters, if the current scenario continued to prevail.