MHA withdraws former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi's NSG security cover

The Asian Age With Agency Inputs  | manoj anand

India, All India

Gogoi for his part alleged that the Central government had withdrawn his security cover only because he criticised their policies.

Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi. (Photo: File)

Guwahati: The home ministry has withdrawn the NSG security cover for former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, but said he would continue to get the Z-plus security cover.

Informing that decision to withdraw NSG cover was taken by the high power committee of the home ministry chaired by home secretary in first week of this month, security sources said that there were 15 NSG protected VIPs in India out of which Gogoi’s name was dropped.

Pointing out that security review committee of the MHA has decided to continue Z-plus security cover for Gogoi, security sources said that MHA took this decision after security assessment of all the NSG protectees.

He was placed under Z-plus category and provided NSG coverage after taking over as chief minister in April 2001. Gogoi also posed for a photograph with the NSG commandos before they moved away from his official residence in Guwahati on Thursday.

"I don’t know why, but the Union Home Ministry today suddenly withdrew my NSG coverage,” said Gogoi reacting to the development.

He said when he contacted the DGP and the Additional DGP (Special Branch), they were not aware of the development.

"As per rule, a feedback goes from the state government. But the government is saying it does not know. How can it be possible that the intimation was forwarded by the CM Office and nobody knows about it?" Gogoi asked.

He, however, said the commandos were still with him as they have not got any further orders.

"I have never seen in my life that security cover was withdrawn from a former chief minister within just six months of demitting office.

"I am constantly criticising the anti-people policies of the Modi government and the BJP-led government in the state.

That is the only reason for withdrawing my security. Except politics, I don't see anything," he said.

He cited example of another former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, who also enjoys security by NSG personnel.

"I was CM for 15 years and the UPA was in power for 10 years. We never did this to Prafulla Mahanta and he still enjoys the NSG security... Everybody knows how I controlled insurgency or jehadi problems in the state. How is it that till yesterday, I had threat and today not?" Gogoi said.

Asked if he will appeal for a review, he said he will take a decision in a day or two.

Meanwhile, leader of opposition in the Assam Assembly Debabarta Saikia on Thursday demanded that NSG protection given to Gogoi should be restored. “We have been vocal against the wrong policies of the BJP government in the state off late so such steps have been taken to intimidate us,” said Saikia.

Meanwhile, the Assam Police have written to the ministry of home affairs to provide Z-plus security and NSG cover to present chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal. “It has been weeks that we have recommended Z-plus category security to the present chief minister. But it will ultimately depend upon the home ministry’s own assessment of the threat perception,” said senior Assam police officer.

It is significant that NSG protection of former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta was also withdrawn during the UPA regime but following the intervention of the Guwahati High Court, it was restored.