Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi now stands included in the list of top VVIP’s in the country after his security detail was upgraded to match that of the Special Protection Group (SPG) accorded to the Prime Minister.
The move to include him in a special category comes less than a month after alleged terrorists targeted his rally in Patna and intelligence inputs suggesting he was on top of the Indian Mujahideen’s hit-list. The BJP has since been clamouring for greater security to its prime ministerial candidate.
A communique on a new set of drills to be followed for Modi was shared with all states recently, according to ministry sources. “The category is devised for those with high threat perception but are unable to be accorded SPG security due to limitations of the law,” a home ministry official said, requesting anonymity.
So far, BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani is the only other leader to have been put onto the special list, which was created because the SPG act mandates security only for the Prime Minister, former PMs, their immediate family members and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her two children -- Rahul and Priyanka.
The security cover to former PMs and their family members are subject to an annual review. At the moment, only Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his foster daughter are getting the SPG security.
“Modi has now got maximum possible security,” confirmed a senior National Security Guard (NSG) official requesting anonymity.
The NSG is an elite counter-terror, anti-hijacking commando force that handles close proximity security of a select few in the country.
“Responsibility of everyone involved with Modi’s security has been fixed. The overall responsibility of Modi’s security lies with the Gujarat police and the NSG commandos will provide him close proximity security. Before Modi’s visit to any place, the Advanced Security Liaison (ASL) has been made mandatory. During the ASL, mutually accepted steps to keep a protectee safe are discussed and are put into writing by the police of home state and host state with local Intelligence officials providing their inputs as well,” the MHA official explained.
The ASL had been mandatory for the President who is guarded by the Delhi Police, the SPG protectees and Advani so far.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who is neither a part of the special category nor a protectee of the SPG, also has an ASL protocol preceding her visits.