By Jaspreet Singh:
Three cops for each VIP and one cop for 761 citizens, this is a telling statistic that reveals the care the government of the day has for its citizens. Such is the case that just because of a threat letter from a terrorist organisation to a politician he is provided with Z+ security that entails a security cover of 36 personnel along with a convoy of cars and a bullet proof car for the so called VIP. As of now, 17 people are covered under Z+ and 44 under Z level security. This outright demonstration of power by politicians has drawn flak from all sections of society. Citizens believe they pay taxes for their security and safety, not to safeguard politicians. Each year 341 crores of public money is spend on VIP security. Apart from strength sanctioned for VIP security, policemen are withdrawn from general duty which itself is a violation of standards laid down for providing such security. In the past we have seen people under Z+ security been killed, most recently Mahendra Karma the tribal Congress leader was gunned down by Maoists despite being under Z+ cover, former Union minister Pramod Mahajan was another such victim when he was shot dead by his brother. This proves that no matter how big the security entourage is, safety cannot be guaranteed.
Flashing red beacons on top of politician’s cars is also a nuisance that has infuriated the public at large. People don’t understand why politicians need red beacons on their car when the constitution says all are equal and no such provision is mentioned for such special treatment of VIPs. Why do they need to rush through traffic and cause unnecessary jam on roads which leads to useless burning of precious fuel and wastage of important working time? Take the case of several patients who were left to die in traffic while the road was blocked to let a VIP pass through smoothly. Recently the parliamentarians requested the government to let them use their beacon all over Delhi while the parliament is in session; thankfully the proposal was rejected. Politicians consider themselves as belongings of a separate class entitled to special treatment in spite of being elected by the common man and mandated to work for their welfare.
It is not that some politicians do not need enhanced security cover; the only need is to carefully examine the death threat and employ security men from the sanctioned strength. Politicians who work under constant fear of death are to be guarded so that they can carry on their good work, also no compromise should be made on security for head of state and policemen who have caught dangerous terrorist in the past or carried out encounters.
NSG force was established to counter terrorism but today its only focus seems to be VIP security. Urgent need is for reforms that set them free from political control. If quality roads are built, there would be no need to use beacons on cars as then all people including VIPs will be able to travel smoothly. Strict enforcement of traffic rules against offences such as misuse of government cars and invalid usage of beacons is also required. Clear guidelines need to be laid out to identify politicians who genuinely require these privileges.