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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

How Modi threw security to the wind in Varanasi

Rajesh Ahuja and Pawan Dixit, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Varanasi, May 10, 2014
First Published: 00:56 IST(10/5/2014) | Last Updated: 11:18 IST(10/5/2014)

A camera-mounted drone called ‘Camcoptor’ used by a news channel to cover Narendra Modi’s roadshow in Varanasi on Thursday has turned into a new challenge for his security detail, government sources told HT.

“Either the drone-camera should have been checked properly before it was used or it should not have been allowed at all. I am asking the Inspector General (IG) in charge of Varanasi to look into the matter,” said Mukul Goel, additional director general (law and order) of Uttar Pradesh Police.

The roadshow itself came under the scanner with Goel saying that the Varanasi administration had issued prohibitory orders disallowing assembly of more than five persons under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the area.

“The local administration has referred the matter to the election commission as it was also in violation of the prohibitory orders,” he added.

An internal-security audit of the BJP PM nominee’s road show also found that he was travelling in a non-bullet-proof vehicle. “The bullet-proof vehicle was traveling behind Modi’s vehicle,” said a security official.

This triggered a blame-game between security agencies with sources in Varanasi Police claiming that Modi’s close-proximity security detail -- manned by the Gujarat Police and National Security Guard commandos – had the responsibility of ensuring that the Gujarat CM travelled in a bullet-proof vehicle.

Narendra Modi has one of the largest security details in the country after the Prime Minister, President and Special Protection Group (SPG) protectees like Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“We deployed personnel from the Rapid Action Force (RAF) to secure the route of his road show. A road-opening party was also sent ahead of his cavalcade,” said a senior Varanasi police official requesting anonymity.

During the road show, however, a bull almost got out of control, which could have led to a stampede, security sources said.

“A proper anti-sabotage check of the whole route was necessary as the threat perception for Modi is very high,” said the official.

In light of the security concerns, Gujarat police is hoping the Intelligence Bureau will look into all these issues to fill critical gaps in Modi’s security.

“We are yet to get a report on the road show, but I am certain that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) will look into all these shortcomings to fill gaps on the security arrangements of Modi,” said Pramod Kumar, additional director general (intelligence) of Gujarat Police.


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