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In NDA’s scheme of things, VIP list soars

Union Minister of State (Home Affairs) Kiren Rijiju says security is provided purely on threat perception.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

As many as 50 new names have been added to the list of people being given VIP security since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power last year.

The latest to be sanctioned security by the government are Bharatiya Janata Party State presidents O.P. Mathur (Rajasthan) and Jugal Kishore Sharma (Jammu and Kashmir). Though both States have a BJP government in power, instead of the local police, the Central armed police forces (CAPF), which report to the Union Home Ministry, have been put on the job. Mr. Mathur has been sanctioned ‘Z’ category security, while Mr. Sharma has been given ‘Y’ category.

If the UPA was benevolent in doling out VIP security, which is often seen as a status symbol by many politicians, this government is already under similar pressure.

Union Minister of State (Home Affairs) Kiren Rijiju told The Hindu during an interview last week that there was a lot of pressure on him from colleagues and ministers when it came to sanctioning VIP security. “Currently there are 275 people in VIP protectees list. There are too many demands for upgrading security status but the consideration is purely on threat perception,” he said.

An official said a senior Cabinet minister had been making several representations before Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to grant her “Z plus” security but the intelligence agencies had not come up with any specific input suggesting a threat to her life. A ‘Z plus’ protectee is provided security cover by at least 40 police personnel at a time. There are two committees which decide the security category. The first one is the Protection Review Group and the Security Categorisation Committee, both headed by the Union Home Secretary and they include Intelligence Bureau officials.

Mr. Rijiju added: “Many people feel they are under severe threat, many of the applications which talk about threat to their life are being verified by intelligence agencies. I cannot comment the basis of consideration of the UPA, but in our government it is provided only on the basis of threat perception.”

During the UPA government, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which is one of the main anti-Naxal forces in the country, was asked to secure 37 people. “In the past one year, 25 more protectees have been added in the area of responsibility of CRPF,” said a senior government official.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which has a dedicated unit for VIP security, has been asked to provide security to 55 people now, up from 42 earlier.

The Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), whose primary function is to guard the China border, has been given a responsibility to secure 14 protectees, up from seven during UPA government’s time.

Mr. Rijiju said the coming elections in Bihar had also prompted the government to provide Central security cover to some politicians there. “Because of elections in Bihar, may be threat perception has arisen that Pappu Yadav has been given Y security, otherwise he is not entitled to it.” He said there was no political consideration or intention of the government to remove the security of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and that the government had left the decision to the security agencies.

The new list of protectees includes Nationalist Congress Party’s D.P Tripathi and former Director-General of Police of Uttar Pradesh Vinod Kumar Singh.

Name Level Protection status
BJP national president Amit Shah Z + Active
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat Z + Active
Baba Ramdev Z Active
BJP president in J&K Jugal Kishore Sharma Y Active
BJP president in Rajasthan Z Active
Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi Z+ Active
MoS Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla Y Active
Former Chief Election Commissioner HS Brahma Y Active
MoS Haribhai Parthibhai Chowdhury Z Active
MoS Tribal Affairs Mansukhabhai Dhanajibhai Vasana Y Active
Former Coal Minister Prakash Jaiswal Y Downgraded from Z+
Congress leader Jagdish Tytler Z Downgraded from Z+
Congress leader Sajjan Kumar Z Downgraded from Z+
Former Delhi police commissioner YS Dadwal - Removed
Former Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar - Removed
Former NSG DG JK Dutt - Removed
Former NSA Shivshankar Menon Y Downgraded from Z

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 4:06:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/50-new-names-added-to-vip-list-after-nda-assumes-office/article7558359.ece

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