The Ministry of Home Affairs has accorded Y-plus category security cover of armed central paramilitary personnel to actress Kangana Ranaut, the first Bollywood star to be guarded by elite commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The development comes following an online spat between Ranaut and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut after the actress compared Mumbai to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Raut, writing in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna, asked her not to return to Mumbai for criticising Mumbai Police. Ranaut said she will reach Mumbai on September 9.
Reports say the actress, who is currently in Himachal Pradesh, asked for protection from the state government citing threat to her life as she had spoken about drug use in the film industry, following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
The BJP-government in Himachal, in turn , asked the Centre to consider giving her protection outside the state, which was accepted. “…I welcome this decision and also express my gratitude to union home minister… her security is important for us,” Himachal chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said.
Maharashtra’s home minister Anil Deshmukh, however called the move “surprising”. “The Centre’s move to provide security to people who insult Mumbai and Maharashtra is surprising and also sad. This state belongs to all people, including the BJP. Kangana Ranaut comments should be condemned by all.” Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis defended the home ministry’s decision. “It is the responsibility of the government to protect the life of an individual. Hence, though we are not supporting what Kangana Ranaut said, and nobody will support it, still it is the responsibility of the government (to protect her).”
ये प्रमाण है की अब किसी देशभक्त आवाज़ को कोई फ़ासीवादी नहीं कुचल सकेगा,मैं @AmitShah जी की आभारी हूँ वो चाहते तो हा… https://t.co/ilSaHG23jF
— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) 1599457706000
The processThe Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) are the two forces tasked with providing security to VIPs. While ministers get Central security cover due to their position in the government, a call on such security to private individuals is taken by the Home Ministry based on inputs from intelligence agencies. However, since these agencies do not report to any statutory body, VIP security has sometimes been alleged to be a political decision rather than one based on real threat.
There are six kinds of central security covers: X, Y, Y plus, Z, Z plus and SPG. While the Special Protection Group with an annual budget of about Rs 600 crore protects only the Prime Minister, the other categories can be provided to anyone based on the Centre’s assessment. As per a response by the Union government in the Lok Sabha in March 2018, around 300 people were being provided security under various categories in the central list.
This is how central security covers in India work according to a Bureau of Police Research and Development report:
* X: Two personal security officers round the clock, which means around six PSOs assuming an 8-hour shift.
* Y: Two PSOs and an armed guard at residence round the clock and additional security at night. That means about 11 personnel (5 for static duty and 6 for personal security) will work over shifts for Ranaut.
* Z: Involves about 22 personnel including 2 to 8 armed guards at residence, two PSOs round the clock and an armed escort of 1 to 3 for all road journeys.
* Z+: In addition to Z category security arrangements, protectees under this category get a bulletproof car, escort in three shifts and additional security when required.
CRPF, which has an annual budget of Rs 26,000 crore says on its website that it deploys 7.5% of its force to protect VIPs. Besides, state governments deploy police for protection of VIPs as well. India’s police force is one of world’s most understaffed with about 140 personnel for every lakh population. In 2018, 63,061 police personnel were deployed to protect 21,300 VIPs for more than six months.