Updated: December 23, 2021 7:45:43 am
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and the Gandhi family will now be protected by women commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force, apart from the male contingent provided to them for security.
“Our first batch of women commandos comprising of 32 female combatants has completed its training in VIP security. They will be ready for deployment by January 15. We have decided to detail them with our Z plus protectees,” a senior CRPF officer said.
Sources said given the small size of the contingent, these women commandos will be initially deployed at the residence of the protectees.
“Since there are only 32 female combatants, each protectee will get only five or six women commandos. It will be difficult to deploy them for proximate security when there is movement given the small size of the contingent at this time. However, if required they can be attached to the women protectees during election rallies,” the officer said.
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Elections are due to be held in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa next year.
He added that the women commandos will be given proximate security duties in future as more women join the VIP security wing of the force.
This would, however, not be the first time that the Gandhis and Manmohan Singh would have protection of women commandos. Sources said when they enjoyed protection of the Special Protection Group (SPG), at that time too there was a small contingent of the SPG women commandos who provided residential security. Gandhis and Singh were stripped of SPG security in November 2019 following which they were provided Z plus cover of the CRPF.
In 2012, the National Security Guard (NSG), which is the premier counter-terror force in the country that also provides VIP security, had similarly raised a 25-member female contingent for VIP security. They were detailed to protect Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham chief J Jayalalithaa.
However, the two politicians initially showed reluctance to be protected by a newly raised women contingent and preferred to continue with their existing security. Following media reports on the issue, however, they relented.
Meanwhile, sources said, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued orders to withdraw security provided to former West Bengal minister Rajib Banerjee. The two-time MLA had resigned from the TMC in January ahead of Assembly elections and joined the BJP and was given central security following this. However, this October, Banerjee rejoined TMC..
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