JAMMU, Dec 11: In a significant decision, Jammu and Kashmir Police has withdrawn excess security cover from 20 former Ministers and MLAs, mostly belonging to National Conference and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), with a view to rationalize the system.
“The exercise will continue and excess security in possession of every person including politicians will be withdrawn. Security will be given as per the category of the person,” official sources said.
National Conference bigwigs including Ali Mohammad Sagar, UT general secretary and several times Minister and former Law Minister Saifullah Mir, Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan, another former Minister, Mubarak Gul, ex Speaker and PDP leader Sartaj Madni, maternal uncle of PDP chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, are among those whose excess security cover has been withdrawn, they said.
“The Security wing undertook manpower audit of security provided to different individuals including the politicians in view of crunch of Personal Security Officers (PSOs). It was detected that many politicians especially those who were at the helm of affairs in the previous PDP and National Conference regimes were having excess security cover than their entitlement,” sources said, adding the excess security has been withdrawn.
“They will continue to keep security personnel to which they are entitled as per the category,”’ sources said.
Other politicians and individuals whose extra security cover has been taken back include Tanvir Sadiq, Peer Afaq Ahmad, Ali Mohammad Dar, GS Oberoi, Qaiser Lone, Mushtaq Ahmad Shah, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, Nazir Ahmad Khan, Peerzada Ghulam Ahmad Shah, Manzoor Ahmad Wani, Ghulam Nabi Shaheen, Sheikh Ahmad Saloora, Mohammad Aasim Khan and Asiya Naqash.
Most of them belonged to National conference and People’s Democratic Party.
Official sources were, however, of the view that security cover of none of the politicians has been downgraded. Rather, it has been rationalized, they said.
Those falling in Y Security had been given security cover of Z category and those of Z category were enjoying the cover of Z Plus category and so on.
“We undertook extensive exercise and kept security with all individuals including politicians as per their entitlement under the Category. This was done after manpower audit as the authorities were facing acute shortage of security personnel,” the sources said.
Asserting that the exercise will continue, the sources said the rationalization has become need of the hour to overcome manpower crunch.
“There may be many more individuals especially the politicians who will be keeping extra security than entitlement and this too will be withdrawn,”’ they said.
The politicians were holding extra security cover for years together and none in the administration bothered to withdraw excess security from them, they said.
However, now the system is being streamlined and the process will go on.
The National Conference was in power for six years from 2008-2014 followed by PDP-BJP from 2015 to 2018 and then the Governor’s Rule.
While being in power, the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had given excess security cover to their leaders including then Ministers and legislators which continued as exercise to streamline the system and keep security as per entitlement of the politicians wasn’t conducted, the sources said.
They added that manpower shortage will be overcome with rationalization exercise undertaken by the Security wing of Jammu and Kashmir Police Department.
“All leaders, however, continue to hold security cover as per their entitlement under the Category in which they falls and, therefore, they will continue to be protected by the PSOs,”’ the sources said.