In wake of an ‘all-time high’ threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Home Ministry has issued new security guidelines to all the states. As per the new guidelines, not even ministers and officers will be allowed to come too close to the prime minister.
The ministry specified that as Prime Minister Modi is the most valuable target in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, there has been an ‘all-time high’ threat to him. The ministers and officers will be allowed close to PM Modi only when cleared by the Special Protection Group (SPG), confirmed the officials.
No one, not even ministers and officers should be allowed to come too close to the prime minister unless cleared by his special security, the Home Ministry communication said, citing an "unknown threat" to Modi.
The Special Protection Group is believed to have advised Modi to cut down on the road shows that invite greater threat as he is the main campaigner for the ruling BJP. In addition, the prime minister has been advised to address public rallies instead, which are easier to manage, an official said.
Prime minister’s security apparatus was reviewed in the recent past after the Pune Police told a court on June 7, that they had seized a "letter" from the Delhi residence of one of the five people arrested for having alleged "links" with the banned CPI (Maoist), another official said.
The purported letter allegedly mentioned a plan to "assassinate" Modi in "another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident", the police had told the court.
During a recent visit to West Bengal, a man was able to break through six layers of security to touch the prime minister’s feet, which sent the security agencies into a tizzy.
Following the two developments, the prime minister’s security was reviewed in a meet chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which also saw the presence of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Director Intelligence Bureau Rajiv.
In the meet, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had directed that all necessary measures be taken in consultation with other agencies to suitably strengthen security arrangements for the prime minister.
The new set of rules and the threat assessment have been briefed to the close protection team (CPT) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security. They have also been instructed to frisk even a minister or an officer, if necessary.
Maoist-hit states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal were termed as sensitive by the Home ministry. Also, the police chiefs of these states were told to be extra careful when the prime minister visits their states, the official said.
Security agencies are believed to be specially monitoring the Kerala-based Popular Front of India (PFI), an outfit that the government believes is a front for radical groups.