The Delhi government may soon appoint 10 volunteer tough guys to protect chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and avert incidents such as the one where a woman threw ink at him on Sunday.
The CM has a history of being heckled in public and says he does not like to be protected by the city police, his party having gone to the extent of terming the ink attack a rehearsal for an assassination attempt.
The government is planning to train 10 well-built young men from the civil defence wing to guard Kejriwal and be part of his security entourage when he travels out of Delhi. Unlike Delhi police, the wing falls under the state government.
“For the past three years, Aam Aadmi Party volunteers have been protecting Kejriwal during public gatherings. After he became CM, Delhi police personnel became part of his security but party volunteers continued to be core members of the security cover,” a party official said on Tuesday. “We are making these volunteers part of civil defence so that they get the basic training.”
A Delhi government spokesperson said there was no plan to hire civil defence guards in the near future and so far one party volunteer has been recruited through civil defence but his paperwork is yet to be completed.
Currently, AAP volunteers provide security to Kejriwal and his vehicle is also driven by a party worker. Delhi police say they provide Kejriwal Z-plus security with more than 50 personnel, including trained armed commandos, protecting him.
Watch: Bassi refutes AAP’s security lapse claim
The party has alleged that Kejriwal was not given security during his recent visit to Punjab. Again, on Sunday, the party said there weren’t enough policemen around when Kejriwal addressed a gathering at Chattarsal Stadium and the ink incident happened.
Commissioner of Police, BS Bassi, said, “We do not have any objections if they want to appoint bouncers. They can appoint as many bouncers as far as they act under law. The honourable CM has the right to defend himself.”
Asked if Kejriwal is more vulnerable to attacks as he prefers going for some meetings without his security personnel, Bassi said, “When he decides to move without the security after making suitable record of the decision, then the staff abides by his wishes.”
There are about 18,000 civil defence guards deployed on buses and at hospitals and even to manage traffic in Delhi. Wardens of the civil defence wing have been asked to train 10 young volunteers to protect the chief minister. Civil defence guards paid Rs 600 a day are trained in medical aid, disaster management and attack prevention.
“This government is giving more importance to civil defence and will use them for women’s security too. Already there are 10 volunteers deployed in the CM’s office and more will be placed soon, considering the growing threat,” a party functionary said. “Civil defence guards will not be armed but can prevent ink attacks and stop people from getting too close to the CM.”