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Withdrawal of NSG cover to VIPs: Mixed response

July 22, 2009 16:23 IST

The Home Ministry's recommendation to withdraw elite National Security Guard security cover to some VIPs has evoked mixed reactions from political leaders.

"There should not be any discrimination in providing security," CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta told media persons outside the Parliament when asked to comment on the issue.

Stressing that there should not be politics about the VIP security issue, BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad said, "There is terrorism, Naxalism and a feeling of insecurity. Those who need security should be given but it should not be given just for the sake of flaunting it."

Independent Bihar MP Digvijay Singh said, "Providing security is a government responsibility and people should not ask for it."

A high-level review meeting convened by the Home Ministry on Tuesday recommended withdrawal of security provided by the elite NSG to some VIPs, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, and downgrading the cover for several dignitaries.

The NSG cover for former Union Minister Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi is also likely to be withdrawn.

The meeting felt that security of former Ministers Shivraj Patil, Ram Vilas Paswan and Jagmohan be downgraded while in the case of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, there should be a complete withdrawal.

The meeting recommended that NSG security to BJP leader L K Advani, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anti-terrorist forum leader M S Bitta should stay, the sources said.

The recommendations were made at the meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary G K Pillai and a final decision would be taken by Home Minister P Chidambaram soon, official sources said in New Delhi.

Security of nearly 200 VIPs who are central protectees was reviewed during the meeting. These VIPs are guarded either by NSG or some other paramilitary forces.
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