scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Thursday, June 24, 2021

Blanket Central security for BJP Bengal MLAs based on ‘general’ threat

In an unprecedented move, the Centre has accorded personal security to all 77 BJP MLAs in West Bengal following an assessment of threat to the party's elected representatives.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 12, 2021 8:00:39 am
The Centre has since mounted tremendous pressure on the state government to stem the violence, with MHA asking for a report on multiple occasions and sending a special team. (Express Photo)

In an unprecedented move, the Centre has accorded personal security to all 77 BJP MLAs in West Bengal following an assessment of threat to the party’s elected representatives. While 16 of these MLAs had various levels of central security even before the Assembly polls, 61 were accorded X-category security of CISF on Monday.

“We have received the order from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Security will be deployed according to procedure in the next few days,” a CISF officer said.

Sources said BJP MLAs will enjoy their security in only West Bengal, not all over India. X-category security entails one gunman providing security to the protectee round the clock and may involve three or four security personnel on rotation.

Sources said security was provided based on threat assessment by Central intelligence agencies. A similar assessment of threat to life of BJP MLAs, sources said, was also made by the four-member MHA fact-finding team that was sent to West Bengal recently to probe post-poll violence.

MHA officials, however, denied that the fact-finding team made any recommendations to provide security cover to MLAs. Stating that recommending security cover was not on the agenda of the team, an MHA official said, “They were there to assess the law and order situation. The security cover has been accorded to BJP MLAs after following all necessary procedures. It has been done based on assessment of intelligence agencies.”

Sources said the assessment has been made on the basis of general threat to BJP MLAs given the post-poll violence in Bengal. “To my knowledge, there is no separate assessment report for each MLA,” a security establishment officer said.

“This has never happened in history of VIP security in the country — a blanket cover to all elected members of a single party in a state has never been given,” a security establishment officer said. “Threat assessment is generally made on a case-to-case basis for individuals.”

A former officer of Intelligence Bureau, the primary agency to assess threat to individuals for providing security cover, said the only precedence that comes close to it is during the peak of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. “When elections were held in 1996 under Central rule in J&K, all candidates were given security cover,” the officer said. “But that was done before the elections, and because no candidate would have contested elections in that atmosphere without security. There was real threat to each individual from militants.

“No blanket security cover was given to all politicians of any party during even the peak of militancy in Punjab. Things were decided on case to case basis.”

Sources said provision of VIP security is largely a political call. “A majority of people provided security, whether under NDA or UPA, did not actually have the kind of threat that required VIP security. But if government decides, intel agencies will prepare suitable reports.”

According to procedure, there are two ways in which central security is provided to an individual — either the individual can make a request to the government citing a security threat, or the government makes its own assessment.

In the first case, the request is sent for processing to central intelligence agencies, which check the veracity of the claim and accordingly inform MHA. In second instance, agencies receive input of threat to an individual and accordingly inform MHA.

An IB officer said, “In either case, the threat is either specific or general. For example, the CM of a Maoist-affected state may have a general threat of being targeted by Maoist violence by the dint of his position. At the same time, intensity of the threat matters. Threat from a local goon or political rival may not be assessed at the same level as that from LeT. Not all threats are taken seriously either.”

The latest development comes amid allegations from BJP that its offices and workers have been specifically targeted by TMC worekrs after poll results. The Centre has since mounted tremendous pressure on the state government to stem the violence, with MHA asking for a report on multiple occasions and sending a special team.

CM Mamata Banerjee on her part has transferred at least 30 officers, including the state police chief, for their failure to appropriately respond to the law and order situation.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App.

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement