September 15, 2013 1:46:13 am
A day after the BJP announced that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was its prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections,the National Security Guard the force responsible for his protection was back to the drawing board,making new plans to step up security for its most protected VIP.
The measures will improve on what the NSG did after Modi was named the BJPs poll campaign panel chief in June. The NSG,with the home ministrys approval,had doubled the number of personnel in Modis inner security cordon to 36 from 18. The Gujarat Police is responsible for his outer cordon.
The move meant a total of 108 NSG personnel are dedicated to Modis close range security at present,including those who sanitize vehicles used by Modi to travel outside Gujarat.
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This number,which takes into account personnel deployed in shifts,may further increase under the fresh proposal following Fridays announcement,sources said.
Modi has been on the hit list of all major Islamist terror groups active in India and his rising profile has been a cause of concern to security agencies,especially since his travels outside Gujarat have increased. They are particularly worried about the fallout in case his security is compromised and this,sources said, has been discussed at the highest levels of government.
In fact,this concern has been there since Modi took over as head of the BJPs campaign committee and the NSG recently wrote to the home ministry,citing four violations by their valued protectee during his trips to Delhi,Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.
We report each and every violation to the Home Ministry. There have been four specific violations in the past three months when he did not inform us in advance about his travel and went ahead without the adequate number of security personnel. We just cannot take any risk as he is also the most threatened person, said an officer.
The security upgrade in June took Modi to the top of the NSGs list of protectees,sources said. None of the 16 Z-plus protectees,including BJP veteran L K Advani,BSPs Mayawati,Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa,Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav,has this kind of protection.
NSG sources said even if a person is entitled to Z-plus security,the number of personnel accompanying a VIP varies according to the threat perception.
It was not always like this,these are developments that took place in the last three months. His visits outside Gujarat have increased and since we are the custodians of his security,we cannot afford to lower guard, said the officer.
When he travels in Delhi we are able to provide him additional men even at a very short notice but in other states we have to make elaborate arrangements. Sometimes his programmes are organised at the last minute and we have to rush people along with him. To overcome this problem we keep increasing the number of detachments with him.
Another officer said that since it was an election year,Modis security plan was being redesigned as his visits outside Gujarat would increase. We need more personnel. We were unable to cope with his movements with the limited number of men, he added.
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