- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- GS-3: Security & related issues.
Politicisation of Providing Security Cover
Context: The recent order by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for providing security cover to 77 MLAs of BJP who were elected earlier this month after the West Bengal Assembly poll is not only unprecedented but appears politically motivated.
Overstepping the norm
- In practice, decisions to provide security to persons under threat is taken by a committee in the MHA, which comprises officials from the Ministry, the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Delhi Police and senior officials of the Central Armed Police Force.
- While the IB prepares the list of persons under threat and the degree of threat, the committee decides on the force to be deployed depending upon the place where the person is located.
- In these meetings, the threat perception of each of the person to be secured is discussed one by one and not collectively for any group as such.
- The threat perception for each of the persons (77 BJP MLAs) was not discussed thus giving rise to suspicions of political motivations.
Was such kind of blanket protection not provided before?
- In the past, such deployment of central forces for the protection of individuals was done in Punjab and in Jammu and Kashmir, when these regions were rocked by unrest & militancy.
- Since militants tried to sabotage the process of elections, poll candidates were generally targeted.
- The Central government, therefore, took blanket decisions to provide security to every candidate till the elections got over.
Implication of the present move
- Unhealthy sign for Centre-State relations: Law & order and protection to citizens including MLAs is the responsibility of State Police. But by deploying central forces, the Centre has sent a clear signal that it does not rely upon the State government to provide fool-proof security to the BJP MLAs.
- Wrong signal to other police forces: The Central government’s distrust of officers who are considered close to a State’s ruling dispensation does not bode well for police officers across the country.
- Increased number of protected persons: In 2019, as many as 66,043 police and CAPF personnel were deployed to protect 19,467 Ministers, Members of Parliament, judges and bureaucrats, against the sanctioned strength of 43,556 personnel
- Impacts Training schedule: Constant deployment of CAPF personnel on protection duties impacts their training schedule. After the initial eight-week training for VIP protection, the personnel have to undergo a two-week refresher training periodically to hone their skills.
- Status Symbol: Having security cover has now become a status symbol which doesn’t bode well with democratic culture of society, where everyone is equal.
- To curb the tendency of demanding security personnel around themselves, leaders and prominent persons should be asked to bear the expenditure,
- Members of Parliament and leaders with criminal records should be charged a fee for the security personnel deployed to protect them.