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No compromise on CM�s security: police

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, July 23 - Though members of the Assam Assembly yesterday voiced serious concern over the security cover of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the police is not taking any chance and his security is being reviewed constantly. Meanwhile, with the Independence Day approaching, police and security agencies are trying to augment the security cover of the persons considered vulnerable as well as of the vital installations and places of religious worship.

Highly-placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that the threat perception of Sonowal cannot be overlooked because of his position, particularly in a State like Assam, which has been affected by militancy for years and recent developments like reports of the growth of jehadi elements like the Jamaat-ul-Mujaheedin, Bangladesh (JMB) added to the concerns. However, Sonowal himself was keen that his security cover should not affect the common people and he insisted on reducing the number of security personnel with him.

Sources asserted that despite the Chief Minister�s feelings, there would be no compromise on his security. �The only thing that we are looking at is that the security cover of the Chief Minister does not create public nuisance. It is possible to maintain proper security cover without making a show of it by proper planning. For example, the American President is the most vulnerable person in the world but one does not see too many security personnel with him,� the sources pointed out.

The sources said that the threat perception of any person, including that of the Chief Minister, cannot be a static issue and it needs to be reviewed periodically and the security cover should be augmented immediately if found necessary. The Assam Police is constantly reviewing the threat perception with inputs from all the stakeholders including the Central intelligence agencies. However, there is no input of any fresh threat to the Chief Minister, the sources added.

Police sources revealed that a process to bring in modern security gadgets has started and that would improve the security cover of the persons considered vulnerable to a great extent without using too much manpower.

Replying to a question on whether Sonowal would be given NSG cover, sources said that the matter is yet to be finalised. �Giving someone Z-plus security cover does not necessarily mean that NSG cover should be given to that person. If the threat perception is considered too high, then only NSG cover is given to that person,� the sources added.

Sources also said that with the level of violence coming down, a decision was taken to reduce the security cover of senior officers. But the government was forced to rethink on the issue after a report that the Al-Qaeda was planning to target senior IAS and IPS officers. At the same time, the report is being verified, the sources added.

Meanwhile, sources admitted that some places of religious worship, including the Kamakhya temple, are considered vulnerable and those places have been kept under surveillance. Police and security forces are also sharing all inputs available to ensure that ultras and jehadi elements cannot create trouble ahead of the Independence Day.

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