R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, March 17: The threat perception assessments of all candidates for the ensuing State assembly polls are being reviewed periodically and there is no shortage of force to provide adequate security cover to all of them.
Additional Director General of Police, Security, Harmeet Singh told The Assam Tribune that all the candidates contesting the polls including the independent candidates are being provided security cover. The norm is to provide two armed PSOs to each candidate and the number would be increased if required depending on the threat perception.
Singh said that a number of candidates already have security cover on the basis of assessed threat perception regarding them and the same level of protection would continue. For example, all the Ministers, legislators, some former MLAs etc already have security cover and that would not be changed. He said that the Superintendents of Police of all districts are periodically assessing the threat perception of all the candidates and measures would be taken accordingly to ensure that all candidates are safe.
The Additional DGP revealed that personnel of the Assam Police Battalions are trained for performing the duty as PSOs and there would be no shortage of force. The assessment of the total number of police personnel that would be required for giving protection to the candidates has been calculated based on previous experience, however a final assessment would be made as all the filing of nominations is over. Moreover, the number will keep changing as the threat perception against candidates is being reviewed periodically.
Moreover, if any candidate feels that he or she needs additional security cover, the person can approach the concerned district superintendent of police and the matter would be reviewed immediately, Singh added.
On the requirement of forces to provide security to the senior leaders of the political parties, who are frequenting the State for campaigning, Singh said that a security drill is in place to ensure that adequate security cover is given to the “high threat perception” category of political leaders. The highly trained personnel of the Smart Protection Unit of Assam Police have been deployed for giving security cover to “high threat perception category” protectees.
Senior police officers are also visiting all parts of the State to review the security scenario and to ensure that the election passes off peacefully.
It may be mentioned here that senior leaders of all the political parties are frequently visiting Assam for election campaigns. The Prime Minister, Union Home Minister, Defence Minister and other senior Ministers are visiting Assam for campaigning, while, senior Congress leaders have also started visiting Assam to campaign for their party.