Panneerselvam had Y plus category security cover while Stalin had Z plus protection being provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Union Home Ministry withdraws CRPF cover for Tamil Nadu Dy CM OPS StalinPTI
news Security Friday, January 10, 2020 - 10:03

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has withdrawn security cover for Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin, officials informed the press on Thursday.

Panneerselvam had Y plus category security cover while Stalin had Z plus protection being provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) — a paramilitary force mandated to provide VIP security as well as internal security across the country in sensitive areas.

According to news agency IANS, the government took the decision to withdraw security cover of the two politicians following a threat assessment review, based on central security agencies report. The decision was approved by the Union Home Ministry, it says, citing officials.

According to one report in The Hindu, a senior government official is quoted as saying that the CRPF had undertaken to provide proximate and mobile security cover only in Tamil Nadu. 

The DMK condemned the removal of the VIP security cover of party chief MK Stalin by the Centre on Thursday.

In a tweet, DMK MP and Stalin's sister Kanimozhi said she "strongly condemned" the withdrawal of security for her brother.

Stalin had Z plus protection, the second highest level of security, of about 18-20 armed personnel drawn from the CRPF.

Kanimozhi said “crores of cadres and their love will serve as a fortification for Stalin, who has continuously been raising his voice for Tamils.”

Panneerselvam had Y plus cover of about five-six central paramilitary commandos.

SPG cover withdrawn for Gandhis earlier

In November 2019, the government decided to withdraw the Special Protection Group (SPG) cover that was accorded to the Gandhi family — UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

The SPG cover was constituted in 1985 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her own security guards. The Gandhi family had continued to be under SPG cover since the threat perception towards them was high, and because both Indira and Rajiv Gandhi had died due to assassinations. Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991 by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had taken place two years after the VP Singh government withdrew SPG cover for him.

The SPG cover, the highest level of security cover that can be given in India, is now only being given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

(With inputs from agencies)

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