India’s new home minister is leading by example P Chidambaram has refused to get his security cover upgraded from ‘Y’ category, which he currently has.
<b1>Chidambaram was provided the security by virtue of being the Union finance minister, also called “positional” security in police circles. After he took over as the home minister, the Intelligence Bureau and other security agencies did a fresh security and threat assessment for the minister, as is the routine.
However, sources said, Chidambaram’s office politely refused up-gradation of his security cover, as the minister did not desire so.
Senior security officials, who did not wish to be named, as it is a sensitive issue, confirmed that the minister had refused more security. Rajeev Mittal, private secretary to the home minister, refused to comment when contacted.
They said other VIPs needed to emulate the home minister who despite being the sanctioning authority for security to VIPs had refused to get his security upgraded. His predecessor, Shivraj Patil, had a Z-Plus security cover.
When he became the home minister in 2004, Patil had refused National Security Guard cover and opted for Delhi Police commandos.
Officials said they were pleasantly surprised to finally have a minister who did not wish to be surrounded by cops all around.
“Here we have for the first time a minister who refuses an up-gradation in his security cover despite the fact that his ministry is the sanctioning authority for VIP security,” a senior security officer said.
“On the other hand we have people who can go to any extent to get a security cover as that has become a ‘status symbol’ these days.”
“If other VIPs still refuse to follow his example, the home ministry should get tough. People should not be given security only because of ‘positional’ reasons,” the officer said.
There are around 400 VIPs in Delhi and around 15,000 Delhi Police personnel out of its strength of 60,000 are on VIP security duty.
Following the Mumbai terror attacks there has been widespread criticism over diverting policemen to VIP duty.