Controversial Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Legislative Assembly Sangeet Som, an accused in Muzaffarnagar riots, has been accorded Z category security by the Centre, a move that came under scathing attack from Opposition on Tuesday which termed it as a "license for killing" and a cruel joke with the victims.
Based on intelligence inputs that Som, MLA from Sardhana in western Uttar Pradesh, could be targeted by extremist elements, the union home ministry decided to bring him under the security umbrella of the commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force.
"We have received a letter from the Centre regarding upgradation of Som's security to Z category," Uttar Pradesh's Inspector General (Law and Order) Amrendra Singh Sengar told PTI in Lucknow.
The letter has been forwarded to the agency concerned, Singh added. Sources in Delhi said Home Minister Rajnath Singh gave the nod to the proposal after he was convinced that Som faced serious threat to his life.
"It's a weird thing. It's a strange government. Those who are victims of riots are running from pillar to post and those who are riot accused are getting Z category security
"Nothing can be a bigger irony, a bigger joke with those, whose houses were burnt and those who suffered huge losses," Congress leader Manish Tewari said. Another Congress leader Rashid Alvi said that the move tantamount to providing security to those engaged in killings while the victims of riots were being left in the lurch.
"This security cover is not for the security of Som but a license for killing innocent people and fanning communal disharmony between two communities of a highly sensitive state," Janata Dal-United general secretary K C Tyagi said.
In a statement, he said his party "strongly condemns" this action and demanded withdrawal of the Z security to Som noting "this will encourage such people involved in instigating hatred among the society and will create a sense of insecurity and further alienation among the minorities".
The BJP defended the move, saying the decision to provide security is taken based on "sufficient evidence" from intelligence sources and not on "whims and fancies". "And prior to giving the Z security on the insistence of the intelligence agencies, Sangeet Som was awarded 'Y' category security by the Uttar Pradesh government on the order of the high court of Uttar Pradesh," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.