PM-like security for Modi: Govt says Rajiv Gandhi wasn’t given security of even a SI
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party Parliamentary Board has passed a resolution demanding Prime Minister-level security for its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
The BJP has sought an increase in Modi’s security cover, underlining that the Gujarat Chief Minister’s security is the responsibility of the Central government.
A series of small bombs killed six people ahead of a rally led by Modi in Patna on October 27, raising his security concerns.
Addressing a press conference, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday underlined that given it is election season, his party would hold a number of rallies. It is responsibility of the Centre to arrange for security, noted Javadekar.
The BJP spokesperson further accused the Centre of taking the issue of Modi’s security very lightly. Referring to Patna blasts, Javadekar said it was unfortunate that even today the Bihar government doesn’t admit security lapses.
Lashing out at the Centre, Javadekar said security for the BJP rallies is being compromised despite the fact the party’s rallies are getting huge response.
Modi is on the target of terrorists and the government knows this, said Javadekar, adding no politics should be played over the security of the party’s PM nominee.
Accusing the Bihar government of negligence in security, the BJP spokesperson claimed the venue of Modi’s Patna rally was not sanitised and no frisking was done to ensure security.
He further pointed out that recovery of bombs at Gandhi Maidan and at Ranchi prove well-connected network of terrorist is present in Bihar. Had the leaders and audience not acted with exemplary restraint in Patna, there would’ve been a stampede, said Javadekar.
Striking a note of caution, he said whatever happened in Patna should not be repeated.
In the meantime, Minster of State for Home RPN Singh said Modi has been given adequate security.
Stating that the Home Ministry gives security according to the threat perception, Singh said, “Would like to remind NDA of the type of security they had given former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, they had not given him a security of the sub-inspector level also and he lost his life. But I would like to assure the BJP that we are giving him full security.”
Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in May 1991. Notably, while making the statement, RPN Singh forgot that it was the Chandrashekhar government which was in power in 1991, not the BJP.
He ruled out extension of Special Protection Group security to Modi, saying that under an Act of Parliament, SPG protection is given only to the Prime Minister, former prime ministers and their immediate family members.
“BJP knows this fact but trying to do politics in the name of Modi’s security,” he said.
Authorities hold Indian Mujahideen (IM) group responsible. While Modi was not in the immediate vicinity of the explosions, the message was clear.
Four days before the explosions at recent Patna rally, the Intelligence Bureau sent a letter to state authorities warning them of the threat to Modi, although they did not have specific information.
The BJP’s PM nominee is now protected by 108 Black Cat commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG), the anti-terrorism force that fought the militants who mounted the Mumbai attack.
Originally, Modi had a small NSG group trained to whisk him away in case of attack, a Home Ministry official said.
But his security has been stepped up and he now has three layers of protection: one group to take on any attackers, a second to provide cover and a third to get him to safety.