Tight security during Maya's visitis: Centre

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Lucknow, Jan 31: Following complaints from the Uttar Pradesh government, the Centre has asked states to follow the laid down security procedures during the visits of Chief Minister Mayawati outside UP, Union Minister of state for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal said today.

Talking to reporters here on the sidelines of a workshop for Pradesh Congress Committee members here, Mr Jaiswal said the UP government had complained that in certain states the laid down security procedures were not being followed for the protection of Ms Mayawati. ''We have asked all the states to ensure that the laid down standard security procedure is followed when she visits their area,'' he added.

To a poser on the state government's persistent demands to provide the Chief Minister with an SPG cover, Mr Jaiswal said certain criteria are followed to provide SPG cover to VVIPs. ''We will have to first see the long-term results of amending the SPG Act...SPG was created to provide security to select VVIPs and it cannot be allowed to become a force providing protection to many people,'' he said.

He claimed that Ms Mayawati has been allowed to use an Airports Authority of India (AAI) car to take her to her aircraft from the airport. ''Besides, the National Security Guard (NSG) is providing her with special security,'' he added.

He maintained that following the failure of ultras to create disturbance in Jammu and Kashmir, they could -- out of frustration -- target VVIPs in other parts of the state. ''Chief Ministers and other VVIPS have been alterted to this angle and they have been asked not to violate the laid down security procedures,'' he said.

Citing ''tremendous threat'' to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president and Chief Minister Mayawati, the UP government has shot off a third reminder to the Union Home Ministry seeking Special Protection Group cover for her. The latest reminder was sent in January itself.

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.


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