The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has decided to provide Z-category security to controversial yoga guru Ramdev but seemed to have made the determination in a tearing hurry without proper assessment of the threats to his life, sources told HT.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting with Baba Ramdev in New Delhi. (PTI photo)
“In Ramdev’s case, before a proper threat analysis could be done by the Union home ministry that included seeking views from all stakeholder states and security agencies, the CRPF was asked to provide him Z-category security,” said a government official.
Security of minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh has also been enhanced by the home ministry to the maximum Z-Plus category, giving him 24-hour cover by around 70 CRPF personnel.The founder of Haridwar-based Patanjali Yogpeeth will now be given 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel to guard him round-the-clock across the country. Ramdev campaigned for the BJP in the last general elections and is known to enjoy close relations with top NDA leaders, sources said.
The government can provide security without proper threat analysis, but only in emergency situations, the official said.
But there seemed to have been no such exigency in this case and Ramdev was given security merely on the basis of his Z-category status in Uttarakhand, added the official.
Sources said Ramdev was already provided Z-category security by the Uttarakhand Police, available within state limits. The guards, however, could not stay with the yoga guru for more than two days if he went out of the state. In that case, the police of the host state would take care of his security.
But as a central protectee, Ramdev will now get countrywide security cover.
“In case of Jitendra Singh, his security cover was upgraded to Z-Plus category as he will campaign extensively in poll-bound Jammu and Kashmir where militants might try to disrupt the democratic exercise,” said a home ministry official.
The security categorisation committee that is headed by the home secretary takes a call on providing security to individuals on the basis of threat perception reviews from the Intelligence Bureau.
The move comes after a long-pending review of a list of 250 central protectees by the home ministry, started soon after PM Narendra Modi took charge.
A proposal floated after the review to downgrade or remove the security of around 30 politicians and retired bureaucrats is still pending with the ministry without any final decision, sources said. The list contains several former UPA ministers such as Sachin Pilot, Beni Prasad Verma, Jitin Prasada and RPN Singh.
“Another proposal pending with the ministry suggested withdrawal of National Security Guards commandos from security covers of former chief ministers - Lalu Prasad, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mulayam Singh Yadav -- and Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav,” said the official.
It was proposed that security of the former CMs and Akhilesh be handed over to other paramilitary forces since the NSG was a counter-terror commando force and should not be burdened with VIP security duties, he said.
“But no final decision has been taken,” the official added, requesting anonymity.