Friday, Oct 24, 2014

After pepper ‘attack’, Parliament security service to renew request for frisking

Written by Raghvendra Rao , Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi | Posted: February 14, 2014 3:50 am | Updated: February 14, 2014 8:39 am

Hours after Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal used pepper spray in the Lok Sabha, the Parliament Security Service (PSS), which is in charge of security in the Parliament House complex, said it would ask the government again to review the exemption from frisking that MPs currently have.

“A detailed incident report is being prepared. We are going to suggest to the government to review this exemption. But given past experience, we feel it’s better if such a suggestion comes from the honourable MPs themselves,” a senior PSS official told The Indian Express.

Asked to elaborate on “past experience”, the official said, “Whenever such a measure has been mooted from a security point of view, it has met with resistance from the MPs. The Parliament is our house, and one doesn’t need to be frisked before entering one’s house, is what they have generally argued. This definitely needs a rethink.”

Security agencies, who had been warned by the Intelligence Bureau of possible hooliganism over the Telangana issue, carried out a drill before the House assembled on Thursday. They were, however, caught off-guard by the MP, who emptied almost two bottles of the spray in Lok Sabha.

“We could not have acted in the well against the MP unless the chair directed us to take action. There are several security issues, and we have submitted our report regarding the incidents to the Speaker,” the official said.

The PSS seized the empty bottles of pepper spray, along with two unused ones, and sent them to the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) for an examination.

PSS officials also complained that their objections to MPs carrying placards and posters inside the House over the last two sessions had been ignored. “They have been violating SoPs, and we have complained to the Speaker, but no action has been initiated,” the official said.

Following Thursday’s incident, the PSS is considering adding to its strength of 123 personnel in Lok Sabha and 205 in Rajya Sabha, besides installing a body scanner. The agency feels something of this nature was waiting to happen, and provides a good opportunity to begin frisking MPs.

The Delhi Police, which guards the outer periphery of Parliament House, said they had strengthened security and deployed ambulances and the fire brigade in anticipation of trouble. The PSS had asked the police for help for the time when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh entered the complex. “There was an input that MPs and MLAs might try to heckle the PM, so a thick security cordon was thrown around him,” a top Delhi Police officer said.

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