SPG must not be made a status symbol : Amit Shah

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While replying to the debate on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019, BJP National President and Union Home Home Minister Shri Amit Shah on December 03, 2019 said that SPG must not be made a status symbol and its mandate must not be diluted in deploying the specialized force for the security of a particular family. We are publishing synopsis of the reply for our esteemed readers:

First of all I want to clarify a few things. I think that even after reading the Bill, there are some misconceptions among many members, public and media. One or two members said that this Bill has been brought keeping in mind one family, it is not a reality. Prior to the introduction of this Bill, according to the old law, Gandhi family’s SPG protection was lifted after reviewing the threat assessment to them. Therefore, there is no connection between this Bill and the SPG security cover of the Gandhi family. There was no need to bring a Bill for this. This is the fifth change under the SPG Act. The fifth change is not due to any family.

After a review, they have been given the highest security in the country. They are provided with Z Plus security with ASL and ambulance. Security can never be a symbol of status. It may be that any common citizen of this country is more threatened than the Prime Minister. In addition to the security of the Prime Minister, the SPG oversees his communications, correspondence and health. It also takes care that there is no bugging in his office. They do all these duties because Prime Minister is Head of State here. Government takes care of the security of not only the Gandhi family but of all the 130 crore citizens of the country. But the insistence on having an SPG for security is not appropriate. The SPG consists of CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, SSB and Police. There are many forces in which many personnel are trained as SPG.

They are also agile and fit like SPG. These three persons have been given the same personnel, who have trained at SPG at some point or the other. It was alleged that the Bill was brought with a vindictive approach with a family. They said that it is messing up with security. The issue of security should not be taken lightly. We request you to reconsider it. Only the security of Gandhi family has not been removed in this country. On the basis of review, the security of Shri Chandrashekhar, Shri V.P. Singh, Shri Narasimha Rao and Shri I.K. Gujral was also lifted. Recently, the security of Shri Manmohan Singh has also been removed and he has been made a Z Plus protectee. But there is no discussion in this regard in the country. Whether we are living in democracy or living in medieval India, we have to decide this.

Law is equal for all and is not exclusive to a family. I want to clarify again that security has not been withdrawn, security has been changed. The number of jawans who were posted there earlier, the same number of jawans are still deployed. The security given to them is the same that the Defense Minister, Home Minister, Vice President and President of the country have. The government has not taken any casual approach in the matter of security. This government is not running with political vendetta.

Shri B.K. Hariprasad ji just mentioned the incident at Shrimati Priyanka Vadra’s house. Therefore, I want to clarify the situation in this regard. A high-level inquiry has been ordered and the three persons responsible for it have been suspended and an investigation is being conducted by the senior most Inspector General. This change in the law has been done with the objective of not allowing the security of the Prime Minister’s office, his place of residence, his personal security, his communication and his correspondence becoming dilute. The responsibility of protecting 130 crore people, including the three protectees of Gandhi family, is with the Central Government and the State Governments and we will discharge it seriously.