The Opposition Congress on Friday slammed the Narendra Modi-led BJP government in Centre for withdrawing the security cover of Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, saying that the saffron party has descended to "ultimate personal vendetta" mechanism. Reacting to the Home Ministry’s decision, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel said that the BJP was compromising the lives of family members of two former prime ministers.
The Gandhi family has been among the targets of terrorists for a long time. Sonia Gandhi’s husband and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by terrorists. Indira Gandhi, another Congress leader and former prime minister was also assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.
The need for the Special Protection Group or SPG was in fact felt after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The SPG Act, enacted by Parliament in 1988, was initially supposed to provide security to only the prime minister and former prime ministers of the country. The Act, however, was amended after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi to include the immediate family members of former prime ministers, paving the way for Sonia Gandhi as well her children to get SPG security.
The SPG is a group of highly trained armed personnel responsible for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister of India, former prime ministers and members of their immediate families. According to new agency PTI, a senior official said that the decision to withdraw the SPG cover given to the family of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was taken after a detailed security assessment.
This is the first time in the last 28 years that the Gandhis will be without SPG protection. Recently, the Modi government had also removed the SPG cover of former prime minister Manmohan Singh. With this, PM Modi will be the only person being protected by the SPG commandos.