The Indian Wire » News » Lok Sabha passes Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019; Congress MP Manish Tewari cites Justice Verma report on Rajiv Gandhi assassination case
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Lok Sabha passes Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019; Congress MP Manish Tewari cites Justice Verma report on Rajiv Gandhi assassination case


In the ongoing winter session of the parliament, Lok Sabha passed another widely-debated Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on Wednesday. The passage of the bill saw strong opposition from the Congress leaders.

The Congress party had accused the Central government of “vendetta politics“. Earlier, responding to these allegations, BJP general secretary organization BL Santhosh had said, “SPG or Z+ security cover is decided on threat perception assessment done by intelligence agencies not in 10 Janpath like in yesteryears. Rahul Gandhi has breached protocol more than 300 times.. why to cry now?”

Grand old party slammed the ruling BJP government’s move to remove the SPG cover from the party’s top leadership. Previously, Bhartiya Janta Party had withdrawn SPG cover from Gandhi family that include- interim party president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi. The leaders are now provided with Z-plus security which will be overseen by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).  It has been reported that the Gandhi family will be without SPG protection for the first time in 28 years.

The bill will be now tabled in the Rajya Sabha for its approval. According to the proposed bill, SPG cover will only be given to Prime Minister and his “immediate family residing with him at his official residence”. Furthermore, the cover will cover any former prime minister and members of his immediate family “residing with him at the residence allotted to him for a period of five years, from the date he ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister“.

Speaking in the House, Home Minister Amit Shah slashed the Congress leaders for their opposition to the bill. He said that no congress member said a word when the cover was removed from former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar and former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. He also cited similar examples of former Prime Minister IK Gujral’s SPG security cover and Manmohan Singh’s security cover.

He further added,” the government is responsible for securing each citizen and not the Gandhi family alone.” Giving the ground statistics, Amit Shah said the SPG review pointed out the fact that interim president of the Congress party Sonia Gandhi did not use her SPG bullet resistant vehicle on 50 occasions. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also traveled in non-bullet resistant vehicles on many occasions.

Objecting to the proposed bill, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari questioned the government as to why SPG cover was withdrawn from Singh and the Gandhi family without amending the bill.

Quoting from the Justice Verma report on the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Manish Tewari said “Is threat assessment a perfect science? No, it is not. This threat assessment process is subjective. When a Prime Minister ceases to hold the post, do those threats and challenges go away? No, they do not. If people want to kill, they wait for the time when security is least. This is a very important factor that the House must take into account.”

About the author

Saurabh Parmar

Digital Journalist (Specializing in Indian affairs & Contemporary Political development)

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