Lucknow: With security
often seen as a status symbol, the Uttar Pradesh government is
spending a whopping Rs.120 crores in public money a year to
provide security cover to around 1,500 VIPs of different hues,
deploying as many as 2,913 police officials, officials records
Inspector General of Police (Law & Order) Badri Prasad Singh
admitted that 1,476 VIPs (very important persons) were being given
security based on "pre-emptive threat perception".
"Police does a security check of the threat perception to a person
who has applied for security from the state and thereafter the
home department approves it," Singh told IANS.
Those on VIP security duty include constables, head constables,
gunners and sub-inspectors. The government was spending over
Rs.120 crore on this security cover every year, said officials.
Officials however privately admit that the cover to "so-called"
VIPs is "always and largely a political decision" and there is
little police officers and bureaucrats can do about it.
"Security has become somewhat of an obsession and status symbol
and people arm-twist their way through the government system,"
Vikram Singh, a former director general of police, told IANS.
Government sources say more than 10,000 applications requesting
security cover are pending before the home department and the
officials are at their wits' end handling them.
They point out that the "craze for 'sarkari suraksha' (state
security)" is bigger under the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP).
"With the state hard-pressed for police, the situation is sad.
Crime rate is soaring and people are looking for better security
mechanism," said a police officer.
Security cover taken away from civil police force impeded not only
routine policing but also burnt a hole into the state's coffers,
the officer said.
The highest number of VIPs are in state capital Lucknow (232)
followed by Allahabad (109), Noida (60), Kanpur, Etawah and
These numbers are other than special protectees such as central
government ministers, former chief ministers and political
Former Uttar Pradesh Police chief K.L. Gupta said that according
to international norms set by the United Nations, police ratio per
100,000 population was 200 while in the state, it was merely 132.
"In such circumstances, if police is split between VIPs and
commoners, maintaining law and order and checking crimes are just
not possible," Gupta told IANS.
Besides SP MPs and legislators, security is being provided to many
party workers and office-bearers, even as party chief Mulayam
Singh Yadav has aired his displeasure at the "mad run for VIP
culture" and reprimanded workers for "hankering for beacon lights,
sirens, party flags and security cover".
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