It was only after a thorough consultation with the Gujarat police, the Intelligence Bureau and the Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) of Uttar Pradesh police, that the district administration denied permission to the BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi to hold a public meeting in Varanasi’s Beniyabagh, multiple sources associated with the exercise told HT.
In the last two days, the BJP has repeatedly made the refusal a huge poll issue and slammed the Varanasi district administration of being partisan.
"Three things went against Beniyabagh. It could hold only 30,000 people, far less than the expected gathering; its narrow lanes, which did not leave any room for emergency exits, and the proximity of Muslims localities," said a Varanasi district administration official requesting anonymity.
"A proper advanced security liaison (ASL) — a coordination meeting — mandated under the special security scheme devised specially for Modi after the 2013 Patna serial blasts, took place before permission was denied," he added.
"A nine-page ASL report was prepared and it was unanimously held that Beniyabagh was not suitable for Modi's meeting. The report was signed by deputy superintendent Gujarat police GP Jadeja, who is part of Modi's security detail," added the official.
Sources said the ASL report was signed by Jadeja on behalf of Gujarat police, but two senior police officials of the state - Inspector General Atul Karwal and Deputy Inspector General BK Jha – also participated in the ASL.
Inputs from the Intelligence Bureau on threat to Modi from Pakistan- based terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Indian Mujahideen were also taken into consideration, said a Union home ministry (MHA) official in New Delhi.
Sources in the Gujarat police claim their job is to provide to provide security to Modi. Granting or denying permission for a meeting is the prerogative of the local police administration.
A supporter of Bharatiya Janata Party holds up a cutout of the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi during an election campaign rally in Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh. (AP Photo)