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Of gunners & political links

The high court order seeking withdrawal of gunners/shadows provided to anti-social elements, so-called student leaders and other undeserving persons is likely to open a can of worms for the government as it seems to have violated its own GO left, right and centre.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2006 11:13 IST

Rules go for a six

The high court  order seeking withdrawal of gunners/shadows provided to anti-social elements, so-called student leaders and other undeserving persons is likely to open a can of worms for the government as it seems to have violated its own GO left, right and centre.

Ignoring genuine requirement, people have been allotted gunners on the basis of their political connections. Besides, rules have been flouted with impunity by the authorities to please their political masters. Moreover, recommendations of committees set up in the districts to assess threat perception to a person’s life have been ignored under political pressure.

The latest G.O. (Number 1773/cha, pra-2-2001-700(1)/2001) issued by Naresh Dayal, the then principal secretary, Home, on April 25, 2001 (no order or GO has been issued after this in this regard) clearly says that gunner ‘in uniform and with automatic weapon’ will be provided only to highly placed officials/politicians like ministers, judges, MPs and legislators that too for ‘specific’ reasons while in all other cases only shadows with pistol/revolver will be given and they will be in plainclothes. The difference between a shadow and a gunner is that a shadow will be armed with a revolver/pistol and be in plainclothes while a gunner will be in uniform and armed with an automatic weapon, mostly stengun.

As per provisions of the GO, a committee comprising district magistrate, SSP/SP and DSP/SP of the local intelligence unit (LIU) exists in every district to assess the threat perception to an individual’s life. The panel’s recommendations shall be the sole criterion for providing or refusing security to anybody. This is hardly being followed as in majority of cases, gunners/shadows are being provided on the recommendations of top political bosses and powers that be. The recommendations of the district-level committees are being ignored for obvious reasons.

All MPs and MLAs, as per provisions of the GO, are entitled for a shadow free of cost while an additional shadow can be given in exceptional cases but in that case an MP/MLA will have to pay Rs 5004 per month, which is 25 per cent of Rs 20,015, the monthly fee of a shadow/gunner fixed by the government.

For former MPs and MLAs, the facility of shadows can be made available on the basis of their threat perception assessed by the district-level committee on payment of Rs 2001 per month i.e. 10 per cent of the cost.

Chairmen of corporations, zila panchayat chairmen, mayors, vice-chancellors and presidents of political parties registered at the State headquarters are also eligible for security personnel but only after the district committee recommendation and on 10 per cent monthly payment of the cost.

Any ordinary person is also eligible to get a ‘paid’ shadow but only on the recommendation of the committee and on payment of Rs 20,015 per month that has to be deposited in advance every month.

It is clearly written in the GO, which is the only authentic government document on which the security is being provided and regularized, that no AK 47 rifles will be given to shadow/gunners deployed in personal security and the same shall be withdrawn with immediate effect. However, this provision is clearly being violated and various gunners/shadows can be seen brandishing AK 47 rifles.vijaysharma@hindustantimes.com

2 more commandos for Naresh

DESPITE THE fact that Transport Minister Naresh Agarwal already enjoys ‘Z’ category security, the State Government has provided two commandos with automatic weapons to him last week.

Under ‘Z’ category security, Naresh already has two head constables and eight constables posted round the clock at his Mahanagar residence. Two personal security officers — one in uniform and armed with automatic weapon and the other one in plainclothes and with revolver/pistol — accompany him all the time.

Besides, an armed escort consisting of one head constable and two constables, all armed with revolver/pistol, moves with the motorcade of the minister along with two watchers in plainclothes who keep a watch around the house or venue of any function attended by him.