Ex-CMs will get cover from District Police, Security Wing
Strength cut down from 500 plus to 50, DySP to be head
JAMMU, Jan 6: In a big decision, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has decided to drastically reduce the strength of Special Security Group (SSG) from 500 plus to below 50 and it will now be headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) instead of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) at present and it will not be used for protection of former Chief Ministers and their families which is the case presently.
“The bare minimum strength of the SSG is only for maintaining its continuity,” an official order issued by the Home Department said.
The continuity, official sources told the Excelsior, is to keep the SSG intact as it will be used for protection of the Chief Minister whenever he is elected after conduct of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
The SSG, which was constituted in 2000 for protection of the Chief Minister(s), was presently being used for protecting four former Chief Ministers and their families including Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, both from National Conference, Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress and Mehbooba Mufti of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as there was no serving Chief Minister in place since June 2018 when the BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba-led PDP Government in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Azad and Farooq will continue to get security cover of National Security Guards (NSG) as both of them are Z-plus protectees while Omar, Mehbooba and other SSG protectees will get security cover from District Police and Security Wing, based on their assessment.
“Reduce the posted strength of SSG to the bare minimum, preferably headed by a DySP for maintaining continuity. Post a suitable number of personnel in the Security Wing. These personnel will continue to receive allowance (25 percent of basic pay) as is the case at present,” a Jammu and Kashmir Home Department letter addressed to the ADGP Security, said.
The letter said the remaining SSG personnel should be posted to other Wings to make the best use of their knowledge/training/expertise.
“All the resources (including vehicles, access control gadgets etc) of the SSG, except such resources as may be required by the SSG, should be transferred to the Security Wing,” the Home Department order said.
It directed that recommendation should be implemented within a week of communication.
Without referring to the former Chief Ministers, who will lose SSG security cover, the Home Department letter said provisional security to any person, as at present, shall continue to be provided by the District Police as well as the Security Wing, based on their assessment.
“The operational command and control of the police personnel deployed on duty for protection of the protectees shall be under the Security Wing as ordered by the Director General of Police,” the Home Department said.
It added that all these decisions were based on recommendations of the Security Review Coordination Committee (SRCC) meeting which were duly approved by the Competent Authority.
Asserting that the SSG has not been disbanded, sources said, it will continue to have bare minimum strength for maintaining continuity and it’s head will be an officer of the rank of DySP only as against Additional DGP presently. The continuity will ensure that the SSG is used for protection of an elected Chief Minister after Assembly elections are held in Jammu and Kashmir. It will then protect the serving Chief Minister and his immediate family members.
The move comes a little over 19 months after the Centre had issued a gazette notification — Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020 — on March 31, 2020, amending the Special Security Group Act of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Government by omitting a clause that provided former Chief Ministers and their families with SSG security.