'All time-high' threat to PM Modi: New security guidelines issued; ministers, officers won't be allowed to come close
The Home Ministry said there has been an "all-time high" threat to the Prime Minister and he is the "most valuable target" in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.
NEW DELHI: There is an "all time-high" threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Home ministry said on Tuesday while issuing new security guidelines according to which not even ministers and senior officers will be allowed to come too close to the prime minister unless cleared by the Special Protection Group (SPG).
Home ministry officials, who were privy to the development, said though the source of these threats were "unknown", the PM is the "most valuable target" in the run-up to the 2019 general elections. However, 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.
In the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the main campaigner for the ruling BJP-PM Modi has been advised by security agencies to cut down on road shows, which invite a bigger threat, and instead address public rallies, which are relatively easier to manage.
A senior official of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the close protection team (CPT) of the prime minister's security has been briefed about the new set of rules and the threat assessment and instructed them to frisk even a minister or an officer, if necessary.
A thorough review of the prime minister's security apparatus was carried out recently 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). The purported letter mentioned a plan to "assassinate" Modi in "another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident". Also, 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, sending the security agencies into a tizzy.
In wake of these developments, Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Director Intelligence Bureau Rajiv to review the prime minister's security. In that meeting, the home minister had directed that all necessary measures be taken in consultation with other agencies to suitably strengthen security arrangements for the prime minister. The Prime Minister has also been advised to take extra precautions while visiting Maoist-hit states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, another official said.