Issuing new security guidelines to states in the wake of an "all-time high" threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the home ministry has said that not even ministers and officers will be allowed to come too close to the prime minister unless cleared by the Special Protection Group.
The ministry said there has been an "all-time high" threat to the prime minister and he is the "most valuable target" in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, officials privy to the development said.
No one, not even ministers and officers, should be allowed to come too close to the prime minister unless cleared by his special security, the home ministry communication said, citing an "unknown threat" to Modi.
The SPG is believed to have advised Modi, who is the main campaigner for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, to cut down on road shows, which invite a bigger threat, in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, and instead address public rallies, which are easier to manage, an official said.
The close protection team of the prime minister's security has been briefed about the new set of rules and the threat assessment and instructed them to frisk even a minister or an officer, if necessary.
The prime minister's security apparatus was reviewed threadbare recently after the Pune Police told a court on June 7 that they had seized a "letter" from the Delhi residence of one of the five people arrested for having alleged "links" with the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist, another official said.
The purported letter allegedly mentioned a plan to "assassinate" Modi in "another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident", the police had told the court.
Besides, during a recent visit to West Bengal, a man was able to break through six layers of security to touch the prime minister's feet, sending the security agencies into a tizzy.
Following the two developments, Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Director Intelligence Bureau Rajiv to review the prime minister's security in the wake of inputs about threat to the prime minister's life.
In that meeting, the home minister had directed that all necessary measures be taken in consultation with other agencies to suitably strengthen security arrangements for the prime minister.
Maoist-hit states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal were termed as sensitive by the home ministry and the police chiefs of these states were told to be extra careful when the prime minister visits their states, the official said.
Security agencies are believed to be specially monitoring the Kerala-based Popular Front of India, an outfit that the government believes is a front for radical groups.