We often hear about security blankets being provided to various office holders or individuals in India. The Logical Indian community endeavours to provide details about different kinds of security provided to such people.
To begin with, high-risk individuals come under the security blankets provided by the police and local government. These include the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers, Supreme Court and High Court Judges, Serving Chiefs of Indian Armed Forces, Governors of State, Chief Ministers and Cabinet Ministers. Needless to say, their very profile requires that they be covered under security protection. For the same reason, their families are also entitled to protection so that the dignitaries can work without any threat. In addition, high-profile politicians, celebrities, and sportspersons are also provided special security.
There are different categories of security depending on the threat perception to the person. They are as under, in the descending order:
SPG category – strength of security detail is classified.
- Z+ category – provided by 36 personnel.
- Z category – provided by 22 personnel.
- Y category – provided by 11 personnel.
- X category – 2 personnel.
These categories of security are provided by different agencies like SPG (Special Protection Group), NSG (National Security Guards), ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) as follows:
- Z+ Security – provided by the NSG commandos equipped with sophisticated MP5 guns, and modern communication gadgets. Each commando is an expert in martial arts and unarmed combat skills. At present, Z+ Security is extended to 17 VIPs
- Z Security – provided by the Delhi police of the ITBP or CRPF personnel and one escort car.
- Y category – provided by two personal security officers (PSOs)
- X category – is provided by on PSO (personal security officer)
Apart from this, the NSG commandos also aid the SPG guarding the Prime Minister, former PMs and their immediate family members.
However, the provision of security cover in India has recently been ridden with controversies, especially since it is perceived that many politicians regard the security provision as a status symbol. Currently, more than 19 people enjoy NSG protection.
Facing the flak by media that it is a waste of taxpayer’s money, former Home Minister P Chidambaram phased out the use of the NSG for VIP protection in all but the most serious cases. This did not bring an end to the controversy since many politicians continued to enjoy Z+ security while many bureaucrats were moved down to Y. Moreover, whistle-blowers are in dire need of security, but this is hardly the case in India. However, this move did indeed free a large number of commandos for other missions, like in the Middle East or for providing security consultancy.
Despite the provision of security covers, there have been lapses in protecting some high-risk individuals. For example, Rajbir Singh, a famous encounter specialist was provided Z-level security but was still killed in March, 2008. Former Union Minister Pramod Mahajan was killed by his brother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by a member of her own security detail and Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a blast