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Security pruned, no jammer, ambulance for former J&K CMs

These services to be provided only when outside Srinagar

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Samaan Lateef

Srinagar, February 13

At a time when Srinagar has witnessed a rise in militant attacks, the J&K administration has scaled down the security cover of former chief ministers by removing jammers and ambulances from their security detail. The move comes more than a month after the Centre withdrew the special security cover given to all former chief ministers.

Z-plus security

  • Former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad will continue to have the National Security Guard cover as both have been categorised as Z-plus protectees.
  • Omar and Mehbooba will continue to have Z-plus cover in J&K but are likely to have reduced security outside the UT.

During today’s press conference, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was seen without a jammer outside her residence at Gupkar locality in Srinagar. Even Farooq Abdullah, former CM and MP, was seen offering prayers at the famous Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar on Saturday without a jammer or ambulance.

Jammers were deployed with the former CMs to block signals to prevent them from improvised explosive device blasts that can be triggered by remote control. Also, an ambulance was attached to the security details of all chief ministers to attend to medical emergencies during travel.

Officials say the former CMs — Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — will be provided jammers and ambulances outside Srinagar.

Last year, Srinagar saw an uptick in violence in which 20 militants, 10 civilians, including six members of minority communities, and seven policemen were killed. This year four militants have been killed in Srinagar in two separate encounters. On January 5, the Centre downgraded J&K’s Special Security Group (SSG), an elite protection force set up on the lines of Special Protection Group (SPG) guarding the country’s VVIPs, and withdrew the special security cover of all former CMs of J&K.

Officials said the SSG was in the process of being "right-sized" by reducing number of personnel in the elite force to "bare minimum" and that it will be headed by an officer below the rank of superintendent of police as against a director, who is in the rank of an IG or above.

The Centre has amended sections of the J&K Security Group Act-2000 and limited the SSG protection to only the current CM and his family.

A Close Protection Team (CPT) will be provided by “suitably augmenting the security wing with trained officials, if required,” reads the official communication.

Some of the SSG personnel would be posted with the security wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Police for the "close protection team". The remaining personnel of the SSG are likely to be posted to other wings so that the police force could make best use of their training and knowledge.

The vehicles and other gadgets have been transferred to the security wing.

Farooq Abdullah and Azad, however, will continue to be provided the National Security Guard cover, whose personnel are known as Black Cat commandos, as both have been categorised as Z-plus protectees. Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba also continue to have Z-plus security cover while in J&K but are likely to have reduced security outside the UT.

#farooq abdullah #ghulam nabi azad #mehbooba mufti #omar abdullah

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