The Indian government has decided to downgrade the security cover for Sonia Gandhi, the country’s major opposition Congress Party interim chief and former national secretary, as well as her children Rahul and Priyanka. The family is set to lose its SPG (Special Protection Group) security but will continue to receive Z+ security cover.
SPG comprises 3,000 officers meant for Prime Ministers, former Prime Ministers and their families, but after Friday’s decision, it will now protect only Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Just after the decision became a huge political flashpoint, with Congress members noting that the “ruling BJP has descended to the ultimate personal vendetta mechanism”.
Congress alleged that the decision smacks of political revenge, jeopardising the lives of a family which gave the country three former Prime Ministers, and subjecting them to possible acts of terror and violence.
— Jaiveer Shergill (@JaiveerShergill) November 8, 2019
Sonia Gandhi, the Congress working president, Rahul Gandhi, former Congress president, Priyanka Gandhi, the General Secretary of the Congress party, from the Gandhi family have been under Special Protection Guard (SPG) cover since the assassination of their family member and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi are the children of Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi.
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) November 8, 2019
The Gandhi family will now get 'Z+' security by the Indian paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force on an all-India basis, a Home Ministry official said.
Sonia Gandhi's husband Rajiv Gandhi and mother-in-law Indira Gandhi, both former prime ministers, were assassinated in terror attacks.
— Supriya Bhardwaj (@Supriya23bh) November 8, 2019
The Special Protection Group (SPG) was established in 1985 after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the mother-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, was assassinated by her own security guards.
Under Z-plus security, a total 55 security personnel including commandos, paramilitary forces and police will be available to secure the Gandhis. SPG protectees, under the rules, are provided with guards, hi-tech vehicles, jammers and an ambulance in their carcade.