Replying to the debate in Lok Sabha on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 BJP National President and Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah on November 27, 2019 rejected the charge of the Congress party that amendment in SPG Act was being brought to withdraw the security cover of a particular family. He said the government of India would assure cares for the security of all citizens. We are publishing synopsis of the reply for our esteemed readers :
Several hon. Members of the ruling party as well as the opposition parties have participated in the discussion on this important Bill. I have heard the speeches of hon. Members with full attention. An impression is being created in the country that the SPG Act is being amended to withdraw the security cover of a family in particular. However, this is not true.
The change in security cover has been made on the basis of yearly professional threat assessment as per the provisions of the earlier Act. The present Act will come into existence only after it is passed by the House. An attempt has also been made to create an impression that the government does not care for the security of the one family in particular. They have been given Z-plus CRPF cover with advance security liaison (ASL) with ambulance in the whole country. ASL means some security personnel will go to the venue and undertake threat assessment at the spot together with the threat assessment of the programme and will also coordinate with the State Governments. The State Governments have not been given the responsibility of providing security cover, as alleged by one hon. Member.
The CRPF is a central agency and is present in the whole of the country. Therefore, they have been given the Z-plus CRPF cover. The SPG has been created by inducting personnel from various security forces. The Special Protection Group not only takes care of personnel security of the hon. Prime Minister but it also provides security cover to his office, his communication system, the camp office at his residence and also his health. I have no hesitation in saying that the SPG Act
was amended five times earlier to ensure continued SPG cover to one family. The security cover of many former Prime Ministers was withdrawn but no political worker of any political party raised any issue.
The hon. Members of the Opposition should make it clear as to whom they care for, do they care for the VIPs or the leadership of the country or for a family only. In fact, they are expressing their concern for the security of one family alone. I would like to assure that the Government of India cares for the security of all citizens. They are also citizens of this country, I would therefore, like to assure that the adequate security arrangements have been made for them.
The Verma Commission Report was also referred to saying that the commission had opined that the SPG cover was withdrawn without making alternative security arrangements which led to that tragic incident. This is okay and we have also learnt from the Verma Commission Report. Therefore, the government has made advance security arrangements.
Some hon. Members alleged that the letter of the former Prime Minister was not responded to. I never wanted to make certain things public but since they have decided to politicize this matter then I cannot do anything, I will have to respond. Replying to his letter does not arise because when his security cover was changed, the IB Director visited the former Prime Minister and his family members personally. He explained to them that their threat assessment has been undertaken and now they don’t need SPG security cover and they will be provided new security cover which will provide them security in a manner explained to them.
But when the threat assessment of Gandhi family was carried out, then the same procedure was also adopted and the Director, SPG requested them for a personal visit to them but he was conveyed that he could do whatever was decided for them and he does not need to come to them. Now, what IB Director can do about it. Still, he took a joint meeting of the officers of the SPG and the CRPF and thereafter handover and takeover was conducted. Alleging that there was no communication, such things do not happen in our government.
One hon. Member said that all the parties should get the security cover. The Government intends to provide security to all the parties and it is also being given. However, all the parties cannot be given the security cover of the level of security cover of the Prime Minister. That is exclusively meant for the Prime Minister.
Another hon. Member said that if the threat perception exists then the security cover should also continue. I would like to say that threat perception is a dynamic process and the security cover has been changed on the basis of the threat perception also. His saying that all the Chief Ministers are getting Z-plus security cover is not correct. The Z-plus security is provided on the basis of threat assessment. The change in security cover has not been done on the basis of any vendetta. On the basis of evidence, reports and records, I feel that the workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party need security in Bengal. The leaders of Communist party and the Congress party have also been given security cover there.
Some hon. Members have also raised the issue as to how the SPG is compromised by this. But here, concern has been expressed only for three protectees. They went to attend their programmes without giving any intimation on as many as 600 occasions. They did not use even the SPG bullet proof car. Today, I take this opportunity to request these leaders to keep the CRPF with them as it is very necessary for their protection and they should also give prior intimation with sufficient time to the security people. When we enter the public life then we ought to observe certain ethics.
I would like to give an example of our hon. Prime Minister. He has the security cover for more than last 20 years. But there is not a single foul on his part in terms of his security cover. He has even limited the number of his staff and their facilities accompanying him on his foreign trips. It’s a matter of great pride that the nation has got such a leadership today who strictly abides by the norms of the public life. One hon. Member alleged that the rules and regulations of SPG were flouted by him. The plane, the hon. Prime Minister used was thoroughly checked by the SPG. In fact, he had taken a personal risk in view of potential for tourism and water sports there. It is therefore requested that all the hon. Members should vote in support of this Bill and pass it.