By Alok Singh, New Delhi, Aug 29 IANS | 21 days ago

Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys double the security cover of his predecessor Manmohan Singh in terms of commandos of the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) and vehicles in his cavalcade.


The reason: "No other prime minister except Rajiv Gandhi was under such a threat as Modi from militant groups," a Delhi Police officer told IANS, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He said Modi has been given "watertight security" due to the frequent threat alerts received from the intelligence agencies. To guard Modi, over 1,000 commandos remain around him in various layers, unlike Manmohan Singh who had just 600 men in his inner security circle.

Modi's security was recently reviewed by the senior officers of the SPG and Delhi Police to chalk out a plan to tighten his security.
"Since he became the prime minister, over a dozen inputs have been received by Delhi Police saying he is under threat of various terror groups," the officer said.

"No other prime minister except Rajiv Gandhi was under such a threat as Modi," he added.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Tamil Tigers suicide bomber at Sriperambudur in Tamil Nadu May 21, 1999, while campaigning for the general elections. He had become a target after sending in the Indian Peacekeeping Force into Sri Lanka in 1987 for disarming the Tigers, who were engaged in a brutal civil war in the island nation. The three-decade-long conflict finally ended in 2009.

Modi travels in a BMW 7 high-security vehicle specially designed and encrypted with bulletproof cover. Two dummy cars are also in the cavalcade, to put off an intended attacker. Manmohan Singh's cavalcade had only one dummy BMW.

According to one input issued soon after Modi became prime minister, "groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), Hizbul Mujahideen, Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Indian Mujahideen (IM) have issued statements threatening to attack in the wake of the hanging of Ajmal Kasab (for the 26/11 attack) and Afzal Guru (2001 parliament attack)."

"The arrests of IM operative Yaseen Bhatkal, backed by Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, and LeT cadre Abdul Kareem Tunda have further infuriated the groups who are preparing to retaliate.

"On their radar are the historical Red Fort, Lotus Temple and all the Metro stations of Delhi while the prime target is the Indian prime minister," the input reads.

When the prime minister is inside his 7 Race Course Road official residence in central Delhi, over 500 SPG commandos are positioned in and around the complex. The SPG was formed after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984.

Delhi Police personnel in nine pickets, which include one atop the Samrat Hotel, located 100 metres from the prime minister's residence, keep a close watch on activities in the area. Each of these pickets comprises an armed head constable and two constables.

Personnel of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are deployed in the second layer of security around the prime minister's residence.

Sources also said that the cars in Modi's cavalcade are thoroughly checked by the SPG personnel. Besides, a jammer, an ambulance and Delhi Police Gypsies travel ahead and behind Modi's cavalcade.

(Alok Singh can be contacted at alok.s@ians.in)

(Posted on 29-08-2014)

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