Matter closed, Congress can keep questioning: Govt on SPG row
New Delhi, Nov 20: Amid furore over government's move to withdraw SPG security cover to the Gandhi family and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Home Ministry has reportedly said the matter is closed and there is no going back on the decision.
"The matter is closed... Congress can keep asking questions," reports said quoting sources.
Government move to withdraw SPG security
The government had replaced the elite SPG security cover given to the family of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, was withdrawn after 28 years.
Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by LTTE terrorists on May 21, 1991, by the 'Z-plus' security of the CRPF.
The security of the Gandhi family is now being taken over by commandos trained by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The security cover of former prime minister Manmohan Singh was downgraded from SPG to Z-plus, recently.
Congress raises the issue in Parliament
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the House, veteran Congress Anand Sharma said there was a clear evaluation of threat perceptions to the four leaders and withdrawal of SPG cover makes them vulnerable.
"It is the responsibility of the state to protect its leaders," he said, while pointing out that the Congress-led UPA government had not disturbed security cover of former prime ministers, including that of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Nothing political, says BJP
Countering the charges, BJP's JP Nadda said there was "nothing political" about the decision.
"There is nothing political, security hasn't been withdrawn. Home Ministry has a very set pattern and there is protocol. It is not done by a politician, it is done by the home ministry and according to the threat perception the security is given and withdrawn," said Nadda, working president of the BJP.
Congress takes the fight to streets
Congress youth-wing members took the fight to steets and burnt the effigy of Home Minister Amit Shah to protest the withdrawal of SPG security cover of Gandhi family.
The protesters had given a call to gherao Parliament but police barricaded the approach roads.
Burden on the security and exchequer
With the burden on the security and exchequer getting heavier, the government had decided to review the security cover to former prime ministers and their family members.
The move is aimed at reducing the burden on the special protection group or SPG. The SPG which was set up in 1985 is tasked with protecting the Prime Minister, former prime ministers and their families.
The decision is taken based on the threat perception to each of these persons.