Bommai’s call to opt out of zero traffic leaves police anxious

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s convoy arriving in Majestic earlier this week.  

Breaking from tradition, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has directed police not to block traffic and give him ‘zero traffic’ movement in the city. While many citizens have welcomed this, those responsible for his security are anxious about the risks it exposes the Chief Minister to.

“There are misconceptions about the practice of zero traffic in public partly that it smacks of ‘VIP culture’. This prompts politicians to reject it. But essentially, we block traffic to ensure the person must keep moving and not be still for any potential threats,” explained a senior officer, with long experience in providing security to Chief Ministers.

A senior officer explained that the Chief Minister may not have specific threats from any particular group, but given his position, he always faces threats from unknown sources who may harbour real or perceived grievances, a senior official said.

“A person who harboured a grievance that he was not let in and allowed to meet Satish Reddy, MLA, torched two of his cars. We have seen similar attacks on Lokayukta P. Vishwanath Shetty and former Minister Tanveer Sait. There was also a similar attack on Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy,” a senior official expressed his apprehensions.

“As a Chief Minister, he is bound to take decisions that may aggrieve certain sections. This may result in gherao of his vehicle, pelting stones, or showing black flags. Managing the situation or preventing such events when the Chief Minister is moving in a normal traffic situation is challenging,” he said.

However, retired senior police officers Gopal Hosur and S.T. Ramesh welcomed the Chief Minister’s decision and said there were subtler and less intrusive ways to handle security. “We need not employ a blanket rule. Security must be proportional to the threat perception which is dynamic,” Mr. Ramesh said. “Security establishment must get more innovative and gear up for the challenge,” said Mr. Hosur.



The city police are presently synchronising traffic signals to ensure a smooth ride for the Chief Minister through the city. “This will minimise the time he will be still in traffic which also addresses the main security concern. However, apprehensions still remain,” a senior officer said.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 12:29:28 AM |

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