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Millennium Post

Security, for whom the VIP bells toll

Even as Supreme Court casts doubt on the efficacy of and rationale behind squandering of security forces to give protection to VIPs, reports are pouring in detailing how the ministry of home affairs is privatising the national security apparatus and pushing special forces to safeguard moneyed or politically connected individuals. Huge sections of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are being channelised to serve private interests, ensuring protection of 30 more individuals, including Reliance Industries supremo Mukesh Ambani and Anirudha Bahal, editor of an investigative website responsible for a string of recent sting operations. While the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) already takes care of 44 VIPs, there is little sense in using up the especially trained CRPF commandoes to protect individuals who can easily buy security from private firms. While it makes sense to give special protection cover to Rahul Gandhi, ensuring the same for others like Mohammad Naieem because he hails from Amethi makes little sense. Specialisation and particular high-intensity training to CRPF, NSG and other elite commandoes are government-sponsored services that must be used judiciously and not squandered at the altar of money and political muscle flexing. Given that public money that goes into training these special forces is being spent on protecting VIPs, who consider it a status symbol, it is a travesty of the faith that the citizens put in our state. The raging security debate calls into question the very basis of according such prime forces to safeguarding individuals at a time when national security is being constantly challenged and breached by terror-mongers of all hues.

Paramilitray forces had been set up with the concerted effort to maintain equilibrium and deal with peace-time problems, which include internal strife, as well as terrorist attacks. But using up the limited reservoir of special forces means that not enough reserve is left to deal with national security crises. Time and again naxal and terrorist attacks have left India exposed and the cracks in the security apparatus have only widened over time. This, despite the upping of defence budget, as well as acquisition of more arms and ammunitions than ever. State of the art equipment and training aside, distribution of security resources is a major issue which the government must decide cautiously. Expenditures like spending on bullet-proof vehicles, jackets, special rifles and other essentials must be cleared according to the gravity of the requirement and not according to political and corporate connections. Since money individuals can always hire security from private firms, allowing them to use public security apparatus for private ends must be made a crime under the eyes of law. Home ministry should assign responsibilities carefully and categories of security provisions must be redesignated to avoid drain on public money. Given that over 11 personnel are engaged in Y security to one individual, the math doesn’t add up if it is undeserved.
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