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CRPF Takes Over Security Duties of Gandhi Family 

Earlier in August, the Centre removed SPG protection for former prime minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh.

Updated
India
3 min read
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
i

The Central Reserve Police Force has taken over the security duties of the Gandhi family. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi will be provided protection by the CRPF, starting Monday, 11 November, after the Union Government withdrew their SPG cover last week, officials said.

A contingent of commandos of the central paramilitary force, armed with Israeli X-95, AK series and MP-5 guns, took over the task at Sonia Gandhi’s residence of 10, Janpath, according to officials.

A similar squad has been placed at the residence of former Congress president and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi at Tughlaq Lane and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's house in Lodhi Estate.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which has a special VVIP security unit, has been asked to provide a 'Z+' cover to the Gandhi family on an all-India basis by the Union Home Ministry after the Special Protection Group (SPG) security was removed.

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As per the authorisation approved by the Union Home Ministry, officials told PTI that the new CRPF cover provides for an advanced security liaison (ASL) drill for the three VVIPs that will enable the commandos to conduct an advance reconnaissance of the venues and area to be visited by them. The squad will have a canine component with them and will also guard the premises of the three Congress leaders, they said.

For some days, they said, the SPG will help the CRPF in the task and after that the CRPF VVIP security team will provide the protection independently with assistance of Delhi Police in the national capital and various police forces in the states.

The decision to withdraw the SPG cover given to the family of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by LTTE terrorists on 21 May 1991, was taken after a detailed security assessment, officials had said last week.

The Gandhis are now without SPG protection after 28 years. They were included in the VVIP security list following an amendment in September 1991 in the SPG Act of 1988.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now the only person to be protected by the about-4,000-personnel-strong SPG.

After the Centre’s decision to remove the SPG cover, Rahul Gandhi thanked the SPG, saying that they had worked “tirelessly” to protect the family.

The removal also led to Congress workers protesting against the government’s decision near Home Minister Amit Shah's residence.

Earlier in August this year, the Centre removed SPG protection for former prime minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh.

“Two former Prime Ministers of India Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were murdered, it was Atal Bihari Vajpayee who amended the law to give the family of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi – the SPG cover. Modi and Shah have undone it now.”
KC Venugopal, Congress
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SPG protectees, under the rules, are provided with guards, hi-tech vehicles, jammers and an ambulance in their carcade.

The SPG Act, enacted by Parliament in 1988, was initially supposed to provide security to only the prime minister and former prime ministers of the country. The Act was amended after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi to include the immediate family members of former prime ministers, paving the way for Sonia Gandhi as well her children to get SPG security.

The need for a separate force for guarding the prime minister of the country was felt after Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own security guards on 31 October 1984.

(With inputs from PTI)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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