November 27, 2019
Sudip Bandyopadhyay speaks on The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019
Sir, I rise to speak on the The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Hon’ble Home Minister has spoken at the initial stage briefly but more or, less he explained the purpose of Bill. Manish Tiwari Ji also spoke nicely; he asked why this Bill is introduced and what is the purpose? Sir, I should not repeat those issues which have been factually discussed.
It is clear that this proposed Bill actually provides the following substitute in sub-section 1 of section 4 so that the Special Protection Group shall provide “proximate security to the Prime Minister and the members of his immediate family, residing with him at his official residence, and to any former Prime Minister and members of his immediate family, residing with him at the residence allotted to him for a period of five years from the date he has held the office of Prime Minister”.
And to substitute clause b of the sub-section 1a of section 4 “he has to provide that where the proximate security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, such proximate security shall also shall withdrawn from members of the immediate family of such former Prime Ministers”.
Sir, in our country five persons are allotted SPG protection. One is the Prime Minister. Second one is former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh Ji. And the other three are Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra. So, five persons are allotted this SPG protection. SPG is a very prestigious institution of this country. The Act we are going to change has been amended different times in 1991, 1994, 1999, 2003 to extend SPG to cover former Prime Ministers and their immediate relatives.
Sir, actually a system is going to be changed through the Parliament. We should all remain alert whether threat perception still exists for such people. It has to be taken into care that their lives are not taken by either terrorists or extremists or any forces there may be.
Sir, I am interested to know how many SPG people are employed now in this case. Is it one thousand, two thousand or three thousand or four thousand or five thousand or more? If only one person is allotted SPG protection, how much of them will be allotted to the post of Prime Minister, which is the most important position in the country, beyond doubt. The position has to be given all sorts of protection, at least at the extreme level. There is no doubt about it.
Sir, what type of protection is to be given to these persons who were under the SPG protection? That has not yet been mentioned at any stage. What I came to know that the Z plus CRPF protection will be allotted. How far Z plus CRPF protection is commendable? Personally I feel that all Chief Ministers of the States, they are allotted with Z plus security (which is not the case for West Bengal Chief Minister who goes on business without any pilot car in front of her). But Sir, Z plus category security is allotted to the Chief Ministers of the States who are very important in position. Even the Hon’ble Home Minister’s position is equally important as the Chief Minister and the Defence Minister’s position. What type of security is allotted to them?
Upon whom these security guards are being withdrawn? What alternative security guards will be allotted? People are keen to know because the killing or the death of Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi have pained all of us, the manner in which they were killed. We shed our tears and we were all pained, we still remember those days. Such brutality, such cruelty. As it was mentioned that Atal Behari Vajpayee ji was given proper protection under SPG, a very good decision. We appreciate the decision.
But Sir, some reasons have been mentioned for the withdrawal of the SPG, which I have gone through. One of them is the cost or expenditure, monthly or yearly, the budgetary provision. How much is the budgetary placement for the SPG groups? It is incumbent upon the government to maintain such a huge expenditure. So, expenditure is one of the reasons to withdraw the SPG. Along with that, it has been mentioned that the threat perception is no more implied to these persons who are allotted with SPG facilities.
Sir, I will tell you what our ruling party member was saying. To keep more security has become a status symbol at the state level. Those who are not eligible even they are allotted such protection. It has become a status symbol. Main jitna rakhshak ko leke gari se utar sakta hoon main utna bara leader hoon. I have won MLA elections four times, 12th Lok Sabha se shuru hua, I have no security. In Delhi, no one has asked me whether I am the leader of the Parliamentary Party, I had 34 MPs with us in 2014. Now also we have 22. Has anyone ever asked whether you require any protection. Nor I have applied with PPS .I feel comfortable without PSU’s. But the ‘status symbol people’ also need to be demarcated.
Central forces are going to Bengal, Sir. Governor himself is taking the security of central forces, ignoring the State Government. I don’t know what is the reason. I will request Hon’ble Home Minister, through you Sir. These things are going on. CRPF is giving security coverage to the Governor and Chief Minister is not even being communicated. We are paying for that. Why can’t State government provide security to him?
Sir, how many non elected members are being offered the CRPF protection? I would also request Hon’ble Home Minister to take a list of that from our State of Bengal. Those who will quit our party and join other party (means ruling party in Centre) have been allotted and provided 4 CRPF’s with them with rifles and LMGs, whatever it may be. I cannot mention the names properly but they are moving in that way. It is not proper. It is improper.
Sir, I would request Hon’ble Home Minister to withdraw the central forces from the protection of every Tom, Dick, and Harry. People don’t even recognise them. You also withdraw this one. Sir, this system has already been introduced in the country. Now people will lose faith in the SPG also.
Now it is going to take only the stamp of support from the whole of the Parliament. I think there is nothing wrong in it if Hon’ble Home Minister assures that. We are fully concerned about the situation upon whom we are withdrawing the SPG coverage. There is no actual threat perception? A ruling party MP himself is saying; he was the Commissioner of Mumbai Police also. He is also telling that threat perception report is not always objective, in subjective manner it is interpreted. It is not only in the central level, it is also in the state level.
The decision has already been taken by the government and I think now they have come to the Parliament for our support. So, I think that we will hear the reply from Hon’ble Home Minister and we hope the country will remain secured, protected. Protectees about whom there is a serious threat perception, they will also protected properly and can be involved in the political arena with free hand and fair manner.