The much-hyped review of VIPs’ security —ordered by the newly elected Congress government soon after assuming power — has been put on hold till further orders. Reason: “Political pressure.”
In its latest letter (a copy in possession of HT), the Punjab Police headquarters has asked its field officers to keep the withdrawal (of security) orders in abeyance.
Earlier, the Captain Amarinder Singh-led government had told its officers to prepare a list of VIPs and trim their security cover. In the first phase, security cover of more than 50 MLAs, former ministers and over 100 “VIPs” was pruned or completely removed.
The latest decision comes in the wake of “political pressure” mounted by VIPs . Though ADGP (security) BK Bawa could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, senior police officials confirmed the latest development and said the earlier orders were issued in “haste”.
Sources in the chief minister’s office said there were allegations of “discrimination” too. It is alleged that in some cases, various appointees of the SAD-BJP government were accommodated whereas the security of member of Parliaments was pruned.
The two Congress MPs from Punjab, Santokh Chaudhary and Ambika Soni, who also lost their pilot vehicles in the earlier orders dated March 21, have also objected to the review.
“I have raised my apprehensions after I got to know that MPs would get only four security personnel. We had fought terrorism in Punjab too and threat from such (radical) elements remains there,” said Chaudhary.
Former Congress MLAs Kewal Dhillon and Lal Singh’s security has also been reduced.
“Pick-and-choose policy was followed in the earlier review. While the security cover of a media adviser in the previous government was completely removed, the other was allowed few gunmen. Son and cousin of Union minister Vijay Sampla were also allowed to keep two gunman each,” said a senior IAS, whose two gunmen were withdrawn.
All eleven security personal guarding General JJ Singh (retd), who fought assembly elections against Amarinder were also withdrawn.