26 May 2013

Debate over VIP security in India

8:43 am on 26 May 2013

Public anger is mounting in India over lavish security provided to politicians and VIPs.

With sexual violence against women in the headlines recently, Radio Australia reports the public is asking why there are so much protection for protect politicians and so little to protect ordinary members of the public.

Now the Supreme Court has directed the government to provide security to the public and for that take precedence over VIPs.

Radio Australia reports VIP convoys with red beacon lights and sirens blaring are a common sight in the capital and other big cities. Police personnel are also routinely deployed along the entire route of the convoy.

According to the government: only 30% 83,000 police personnel in the capital carry out general policing. The rest are reserved for personal security details of VIPs and the political class.

The Bureau of Police Research and Development says there are 50,000 security personnel involved in providing security cover to 16,788 VIPs across the country

Security categories are in four levels: Individuals under the highest security cover include current and former Supreme Court and High court judges, cabinet ministers, governors, chief and deputy chief ministers, leading politicians, and senior bureaucrats.

''We perpetuate everything and it becomes a matter of prestige,'' said S B Deol a former police chief and who was in charge of VIP security.

He feels that VIP culture is acute and deep-seated, and it may take time to curtail.

''VIP security has been revisited many a time even in my experience,'' he said.

''Every time people are affected by the slightest in their security, they create such a row, everybody whose security is cut to a small degree, they get together and start agitating and finally it is so much easier to give them what they want rather than face the political consequences,'' he said.