Shah Targets Congress, Says No Vendetta In Change Of Security Of Gandhi Family Members
Replying to debate in the Lok Sabha on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Shah said the Congress members tried to create an impression that the government was not concerned about the security of members of Gandhi family and this is "not true".
Photo Credit : PTI
Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday rejected Congress allegations of 'political vendetta' behind the move to change the security of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Replying to debate in the Lok Sabha on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Shah said the Congress members tried to create an impression that the government was not concerned about the security of members of Gandhi family and this is "not true". He asked if they were concerned about the security of only one family.
The Bill was passed by the House with a voice vote.
Shah said security has been changed for the members of Gandhi family after a yearly professional assessment and the change in security has also been done under the ambit of the Act.
He said security has been changed from the SPG on the basis of the assessment of threat perception and the review was done twice, which found that ASL is sufficient.
"They have been provided with 'Z' plus security of CRPF with ASL (Advance Security Liaison) ambulance," he said.
The Home Minister said that ASL protocol means that a team will go in advance to the place of their visit and coordinate with the state government and the security team will have CRPF commandos.
"The CRPF is a central agency. It is present across the entire country," he said, adding that the Special Protection Group (SPG) comprises personnel from forces such as CRPF and BSF.
Shah said if the amendments have curtailed security, it is of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and when he does not remain PM, he will not have the SPG security from the sixth year.
The minister said SPG not only provides physical protection to Prime Minister but protects his residence, office, communications and apart from measures concerning his health.
Shah said that five changes been made in the SPG Act and most of them had been made "keeping one family in mind."
He said special security was withdrawn in the past of former Prime Ministers Chandra Shekhar, PV Narasimha Rao and IK Gujral but none of them spoke about it.
He asked if the SPG security is of the leadership of the country or "of a family."
Shah said the security of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also had been changed but no voices were raised. "He belongs to your party...(Are you concerned) about only one family," asked Shah.
He said the SPG cover had been made a status symbol to distinguish from the common man and noted that Prime Minister needs such security because of his post which also entails foreign visits.
He said the security of children of former Prime Ministers Chandershaker, Gujral and Manmohan Singh was withdrawn after security review but there was no demand, no statement.
Referring to the Congress allegations of vindictive approach, he said: "Vindictiveness was not in the culture of this government".
He said the Congress had put people in jail several times due to its vindictive approach.
The Home Minister said that the number of security personnel had not been reduced but the number had been increased.
Shah said the government was not concerned about the security of Gandhi family alone but of every citizen of the country and members of Gandhi family were also citizens and security has been provided to them.
Shah said the Director, Intelligence Bureau, had met Manmohan Singh to apprise him of change in security detail after threat assessment and hand over-take over happened subsequently.
He said when the officer went to meet members of the Gandhi family, they did not meet him and asked him to proceed with the changes.
He said the hand over-take over took place after meeting between the SPG and the CRPF.
Shah said threat perception is a dynamic process and it can change from what it was in the past.
"It was done according to the system, on the basis of dynamic threat assessment," he said.
Responding to the concerns of members, he said all chief ministers have not been given 'Z' plus security of the CRPF.
"The truth should be known. There is no political vendetta. The security has been changed and the three members (of family) have been given 'Z' plus security with ASL," he added.