UP sends third reminder to Centre seeking SPG cover for Mayawati

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Lucknow, Jan 23 (UNI) Citing tremendous threat to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president and Chief Minister Mayawati, the Uttar Pradesh government has shot off another reminder to the Union Home Ministry seeking Special Protection Group (SPG) cover for her.

Principal secretary (Home) J N Chamber confirmed to UNI here that a reminder has been sent to the Centre three days ago.

The third reminder comes close on the heels of X-ray films being hurled at the convoy of Ms Mayawati during her rally in Raipur, the capital of Chattisgarh recently. Black flags were also shown to her during her public rally.

The SPG cover is so far reserved only for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, their families, as well as the Gandhi family.

In a letter to Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta dated December 28, 2007, UP Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said the Chief Minister faced 'tremendous threat' from terror outfits. The letter said the UP Chief Minister should be immediately provided with an SPG cover to guard her 'round-the-clock.' Another reason cited by the state cabinet secretary for extending the elite security cover to Mayawati is that she has to travel to various parts of the country in connection with her party work and it was, therefore, necessary to have a centralised command for her security.

Besides the state police Cobra commandos, Ms Mayawati is also protected by the National Security Guard 'Black Cat' commandos.

So far the Union government has not responded to the request of the state government but there were reported talks of increasing her NSG cover.

Providing SPG cover to Ms Mayawati would need a change in the SPG Act by Parliament.

After the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991, the SPG Act was amended in 1991 to provide security to former Prime Ministers and their immediate families for a period of 5 years from the date on which the former Prime Minister ceased to hold office.

Meanwhile, a senior governmnent official has strongly refuted a report that the UP government had any plans to seek Israeli security cover for Ms Mayawati.

UNI NAB MB SB HT1609

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