The National Security Guards, which protects the most ulnerable' VVIPs of the country, has decided to stop taking any more protectees under its elite 'black cat' commando security cover.
The special force has taken this decision to ensure the most fool-proof and strict security to the existing VVIPs under its cover which includes the likes of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and a number of chief ministers.
"We will not be able to manage more protectees under our cover. We protect the most vulnerable of the VVIPs and according to our mandate and present strength we will not be able to take anymore such duties," NSG Director General J N Choudhury told PTI.
The elite commandos of the federal counter-terror force guard 15 VVIPs at present, who are accorded the top security categorisation of 'Z+', which generally entails over two dozen armed commandos with a host of gadgets and security paraphernalia to secure the individual.
The NSG DG said it was essential to put a cap on the number VVIPs being guarded by the NSG as this allows his commandos to train and rest better, after which he or she is able to provide an "alert" and the "best" proximate security in the country as compared to other special units of central paramilitary forces.
"VIP security is not our mandate but we have been doing this as it was required and decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs. We are a special force and our strength is in our compactness," the DG stated.
Choudhury said in order to preserve the elite quality of his special force, which showed its mettle recently by eliminating terrorists during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the NSG "wouldn't want to expand" in this (VVIP security) domain.
The DG said his stand is even understood by the MHA and it wouldn't increase its task further in VVIP security duties, a domain, he said, where central forces like Central Reserve Police Force, Indo Tibetan Border Police and Central Industrial Security Force had chipped in.
He said his commandos were being given "excellent training" in VVIP protection and the commando task forces deployed for this job are second to none in the country.
The NSG guards CMs like Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), J Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh), Parkash Singh Badal (Punjab) and host of other political dignitaries like senior BJP leader L K Advani.
It is also securing former CMs like Prafulla Mahanta (Assam), K Karunanidhi (Tamil Nadu) and Mulayam Singh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh).
The concept and thought process to reduce VVIP security duties of the elite force was mooted about two years back when the force decided to pull out about 900 commandos from its serving VVIP security duties and train them for specialised operational tasks of counter-terror and counter-hijack operations for which it was raised in 1984.
Image: NSG commandos giving protection to Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav
Photo: Pawan Kumar/Reuters