Govt orders high-level security review of all protected persons

Major revamp on cards after Aug 15

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 5: The State Government today ordered high-level review of the security of protected persons including former Ministers, legislators, top officials etc by a three-member Committee, which will be headed by Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Security, Munir Khan.
An order to this effect was issued by the Government tonight.
The security review came just a day after major security breach reported at the residence of former Chief Minister and Lok Sabha member from Srinagar, Dr Farooq Abdullah at Bhatindi on the outskirts of Jammu, where a youth gate-crashed his car inside the residence before being gunned down by the CRPF personnel.
Official sources told the Excelsior that two more members will be nominated to the three-member Committee in next couple of days and they could be in the rank of Inspector Generals of Police (IGPs).
“The Panel set up by the Government today will be in addition to a normal Security Review Committee, which conducts regular security reviews of the protected persons,” sources said.
They added that apart from enhancing security of some of the protected persons keeping in view the threat perception, the Committee could downgrade security level of some of the politicians especially former Ministers and sitting legislators. However, security of the politicians will not be reduced till August 15, they pointed out.
Besides enhancement and reduction of security cover, the Committee could also come up with the measures to use of security personnel to prevent security breaches at the residence and other places of visit of protected persons, sources said
“There have been reports that the Government planned to carry out security revamp of protected persons in Jammu and Kashmir as some politicians, bureaucrats and retired officials were enjoying massive security cover to which they were not entitled. The Security Review Committee will review this aspect and take an appropriate decision,” sources said, adding that security cover of some other protectees could go up depending upon the threat perception especially in the wake of yesterday’s security breach.
There were reports with the Government that number of political leaders including former Ministers, legislators, ex-legislators, officials and retired bureaucrats especially former police personnel, continued to enjoy security cover beyond their legal competence and this aspect has repeatedly been brought to the notice of top brass of security authorities.
“This issue will also come under review of the Security Committee,” sources said.
They added that besides upgrading level of security of some of the protected persons, the Committee will also examine threat perception to politicians in the wake of yesterday’s incident at the residence of former Chief Ministers Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah as the youth, albeit unarmed, had manage to drive the car inside the house and reached their lobby. It was, however, a different aspect that neither Abdullahs’ nor their family members were present at the house.
Sources admitted that security breach hasn’t gone well with the State Government as Abdullahs’ were Z-plus category protectees and enjoy massive security cover at Jammu, Srinagar and New Delhi besides other places they visit.
“Security of former Union Ministers and former Chief Ministers was matter of concern for the State Government and the Committee will look into the issue on how to protect them and their houses,” sources said.
Meanwhile, they said, some former Ministers, legislators and former legislators of Jammu and Kashmir could lose extra security cover after August 15 as there were reports with the Government that they were holding security cover beyond the permitted level. However, the Government doesn’t want to reduce security cover of political leaders before August 15 in view of general threat perceptions, which persist till Independence Day celebrations.
It may be mentioned here that the State Assembly is under suspended animation since June 20 when Governor’s rule was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after withdrawal of support by the Bharatiya Janata Party to Mehbooba Mufti-led Government.
Sources said some of the former Ministers of PDP-BJP Government and legislators were set to lose existing security cover. However, at the same time, the Government doesn’t want to take any chance with safety and security of politicians and would keep their security to the level to which they can be well protected in all parts of the State.