Rajya Sabha passes SPG Bill amid Congress walkout, Amit Shah says 'security can't be status symbol'
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill 2019 which restricts the use of the elite SPG security. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on November 27.
The bill to make the fifth amendment to the SPG Act was passed by the Upper House amid a walkout by the Congress, which has been opposing the removal of the SPG security cover of the Gandhi family.
Last month, the government had replaced the Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover given to the family of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by LTTE terrorists on May 21, 1991, by the 'Z-plus' security of the CRPF.
The Congress had termed the move as a "planned conspiracy" by the BJP-led government at the Centre and said that removal of the SPG security cover had put the life of Gandhi family in danger.
Replying to the debate on the SPG Amendment Bill in the Upper House, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the Congress, asking why the party was “obsessed” with the SPG security cover.
“Security is not a status symbol. Why you only want SPG? I don't understand this obsession over SPG,” he said.
Shah told the Upper House that the SPG security not only meant for the protection of Prime Minister and ex- Prime Ministers, but for the entire nation.
Hitting at the Congress over for criticising the removal of the SPG security cover of the Gandhi family, Shah said: "Why talk of only security of Gandhi family? Security of 130 crore Indians including Gandhi family a responsibility of goverment."
"It's not true that we've brought the SPG Bill by keeping only Gandhi family in mind. Security from Gandhis was withdrawn after the threat assessment analysis even before bringing this bill," he said.
The Home Minister said that while this was the fifth amendment in the SPG Act, he was sure that the previous four amendments were made “keeping one family in mind”.
"This is the 5th amendment in the SPG Act. This amendment is not brought in by keeping Gandhis in mind, but, one thing that I can say for sure is that the previous 4 amendments were done by keeping only one family in mind," he said.
"Threat and security cover should be delinked; SPG cover should only be for head of state," he added.
Speaking on the incident of security breach at Priyanka Gandhi's house, Shah said that it was a "coincidence" as the Congress general secretary had got information of Rahul Gandhi coming to meet her in a black SUV but at the same time Meerut Congress leader Sharda Tyagi came in another black SUV.
"Incident happened on Nov 25. Priyanka Gandhi got information that Rahul Gandhi was coming to meet her in black SUV, but another black SUV came at the same time which had Meerut Congress leader Sharda Tyagi in it," he said.
"The car and timing were same, such was the coincidence. That's why the car with Sharda Tyagi went in without security check. Then also, we've ordered high-level probe and suspended 3 officers responsible for breach," Shah added.
According to the amendment, the SPG will now protect the prime minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence.
According to the proposed amendment, family members of former prime ministers would not be entitled to the coveted SPG security cover.
Now elite SPG commandos will protect only the prime minister. They can also protect former prime ministers depending on the threat perception to them.
Posted By: Abhinav Gupta