With the Lok Sabha elections around the corner, efforts are on to train Delhi police to prevent physical attacks against politicians and VIPs.
The move comes in the wake of increasing instances of shoe missiles and substances such as ink being flung at politicians and VIPs.
A man wearing an AAP cap had on Friday smeared party leader Yogendra Yadav’s face with ink during the Women’s Day celebrations at Jantar Mantar. Recently, Sahara boss Subrato Roy had a similar experience.
Ever since an Iraqi journalist hurled a shoe at former US President George W Bush in Baghdad in December 2008, a handful of Indians have found in it an outlet to vent their anger.
With politicians readying for poll campaigning, the police fear many shoe-slingers would be waiting in the wings.
“We have started the training programme. The officers are being trained to shield VIPs and politicians while attending public functions or rallies,” said Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police S B S Tyagi.
Around 6,000 personal security officers (PSOs) are currently deployed exclusively for VIPs and politicians in the national capital. Four to five PSOs are provided to Central ministers as well as other VIPs and politicians under the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ categories. The ‘X’ is the lowest category, in which a protected gets just one PSO round-the-clock.
“Every PSO will have to undergo training for at least two days. They will be taught how to keep a close eye on suspicious people at a public function and intercept them if they try to get too close to a VIP,” the deputy commissioner said.
The training programme would focus on improving the reaction and response time of the security officers in case if some disgruntled elements tried to physically assault politicians and VIPs in a public programme.
“Having quick reflexes allows one to easily tackle such attacks. Visually one can activate reflexes in several ways. Quick reflexes and fast response time are vital to keep such attackers at bay,” Tyagi explained. He said the training would hopefully bring the desired results.
During the training, scenes would be recreated, in which one cop poses as a politician guarded by a PSO and another cop posing as a slinger. The PSO’s job would be to protect the leader from the one flinging ink or a slipper.
“It is not possible to put up plastic nets in front of politicians and VIPs addressing public rallies or a press conference to shield them from such attacks,” another IPS official said.
He recounted how Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had addressed a public rally in Anand from behind a net put up to shield him against possible shoe missiles.