Rahul defends his visit to Naxal-infested area in Orissa

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New Delhi, Mar 13 (UNI) Asserting that he did not need permission of his commandos of the Special Protection Group (SPG) or the local police to go close to the people and know their problems, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today dismissed the controversy over his alleged violation of security rules during the recent four-day tour of Orissa.

"I don't want any gap between me and the people. It is my intention to remove the distance between the leader and people," he told mediapersons when he came out of Parliament after a 30-minute-long furore inside the Lok Sabha when ruling BJD members from Orissa raised the issue.

Meanwhile, the Congress justified the action of Mr Gandhi in visiting Naxalite-infested area of Koraput in Orissa last week, saying "he was trying to get feedback from the people by going to them as close as possible." AICC Spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told mediapersons that the Party was aware of the complaint of the Orissa government that he had gone to the tribal area without security protection from the state government.

"There should be liberty for an individual...There should not be any restriction against or vigilance on any individual," he said, referring to the furore in the Lok Sabha where BJD leader Braj Kishore Tripathi alleged that the Orissa government had been put in a delicate situation as Mr Gandhi, who has Z plus security, had left the NALCO Guest House in Koraput for some "undisclosed destination" for nearly four hours at night on March 7 without informing the local police.

On the allegation of the BJD members that the Special Protection Group (SPG), which was providing security to Mr Gandhi, asked the state police not to follow his car, Mr Ahmed said "the national security agency had been tasked to take care of Mr Gandhi.

Therefore, it is for them to decide what type of security should be provided to him." UNI SH MSJ KN1838

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