Centre tweaks security rules, makes it mandatory for Gandhis to submit details when abroad
The Centre has issued fresh guidelines related to the security cover given to the Gandhi family, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The revised guidelines make it mandatory for the Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel to accompany Gandhis during their foreign trips as well.
Before the changes in the guidelines, the SPG personnel accompanied Gandhis till their first location abroad and were subsequently sent back to India by them apparently preferring privacy over security.
The new guidelines also make it mandatory for the Gandhis to submit itinerary of all foreign trips. They have also been reportedly asked to furnish information of their recent tours.
The Centre has also reportedly made it clear that non-acceptance of these new guidelines could lead to curtailment on their foreign visits on account of security considerations. The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Parliament passed the SPG Act in 1988 dedicating the group to protect the Prime Minister of India. In 1989, then VP Singh Government had withdrawn the SPG protection given to the outgoing PM Rajiv Gandhi.
After Rajiv was assassinated in 1991, the SPG Act was amended providing SPG protection to all ex-PMs and their families for a period of at least 10 years. The rule was amended again in 2002. Ex-PMs like HD Deve Gowda no longer enjoy the security cover after the review as provided in the SPG Act.
In August, the Government withdrew the SPG protection from former PM Manmohan Singh’s security cover.
Following the withdrawal of the SPG cover of Singh, the Government had said, “The current security cover review is a periodical and professional exercise based on threat perception that is purely based on professional assessment by security agencies. Manmohan Singh continues to have a Z+ security cover.”
Tuesday, 08 October 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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