A Trinamool Congress block president has a security cover only a notch below that of the President and the Prime Minister. Like him, half a dozen Trinamool leaders have been provided the Z-category cover after the last month’s carnage in Chhattisgarh, but a senior party leader believes the special security is no guarantee against the Maoist threat.
A block president in West Midnapore district, Ujjwal Dutta is probably the lowest ranking TMC functionary to have a personal security cover of 22 personnel, including the elite National Security Guard (NSG) commandoes.
The security detail of Pranab Mukherjee, Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee comprises 36 personnel each.
Besides Dutta, West Midnapore district president Dinen Roy, MLAs Dulal Murmu, Churamoni Mahato, Srikanta Mahato and Mrigen Maity too have been provided the Z-security cover in view of the perceived threat to their lives after the May 25 Chhattisgarh massacre in which several top Congress leaders were among 28 people were killed by Left-wing ultras.
Srikanta, Churamoni and Dutta are said to be in the crosshairs because they were believed to be Maoist sympathisers in the past. In fact, Srikanta was arrested for alleged links with Maoists in 2010 and cases against the trio are still pending in police stations.
But it appears the Chhattisgarh incident has dented the faith of politicians in the security apparatus.
Suvendu Adhikari, Banerjee’s pointsman in Jangalmahal, where Maoists are said to be regrouping after a year of relative peace, said grassroots party workers were facing the threat of leftwing extremism.
“The Z-category security has been provided to these leaders in view of the Maoist threat, but I think if something untoward has to happen it will. Mahendra Karma (Chattisgarh Congress leader) had so many armed guards but still he lost his life,” said Adhikari.
Dinen Roy, who is among the select few to get the security cover, said, “I have learnt the government has given me such high profile security. I do not know how to react or what to say.”
The opposition is not happy. CPI (M) secretary for West Midnapore Dipak Sarkar said Z-category cover was provided to neither the ruling nor the opposition leaders when Maoists were active in the region.
“During the Left rule, all these leaders had Maoist links. It is strange that the same leaders will be getting high-profile security cover because of Maoist threats,” he said.