How secure is the elite and seemingly foolproof Z-plus security cover? Well, not very effective when the ‘enemy’ is of the slippery, slithery kind.
In the Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-dominated Bastar, the security blanket offered to protect the lives of leaders has been challenged by none other than poisonous snakes.
At least two political leaders have fallen prey to venomous snakes in a span of one month at Farsapal in Dantewada district. However, both survived due to timely medical care.
Z-plus is the highest security cover in the country provided to VIPs and VVIPs to guard against any perceived threat from terrorists and other elements.
Under the Z Plus category, the protectee gets between 40 to 70 guards, depending upon the threat perception. At the moment, there are around 250 protectees in the central list.
The leaders who were attacked by snakes include Congress legislator Devti and her son Deepak Karma.
Devti is the wife of slain party leader Mahendra Karma, who was killed in an audacious Maoist ambush in May 2013.
Both Devti and Deepak have been provided with the Z-plus security cover as they reportedly figure on the hit-list of Maoists.
Devti is an MLA from Dantewada and Deepak contested the Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket from Bastar seat but lost to BJP.
Devti was bitten by snake late at night at home in her native village Farsapal and was admitted to Dantewada district hospital where her condition didn’t improve.
She was rushed to Jagdalpur medical college hospital on Friday for immediate medical attention where her condition is stated as stable.
Dr Avinash Meshram said she was administered anti-venom serum and out of danger.
“Despite Z-plus security, a privacy of the protectee has be to guaranteed. But after two such incidents of snakebite, the situation right away demands more care and extra caution both from the individuals and the security personnel deployed,” Sanjay Sharma, assistant inspector general of police (AIG-security) told Hindustan Times.
In July this year, the condition of Deepak turned critical after snakebite and was referred to Raipur from Bastar.
The Karma family had aired their grievances over lack of adequate medical facilities available in Bastar.
“There are very few mobile towers and frequent power cuts. We demanded facilities of solar lights but that too not happening. One can gauge the security risk in the region whether from Maoists or wild animals,” Deepak Karma told HT.