Monday, April 19, 2010

Governor's fixed itinerary poses security risk

TNN, Apr 18, 2010, 06.36am IST

HYDERABAD: The active travel by governor E S L Narasimhan on the city roads is giving the AP police the jitters. This feeling has become all the more pronounced after the recent massacre of CRPF personnel by Naxalites in neighbouring Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada.

According to sources, unlike his predecessor N D Tiwari, governor Narasimhan has put the security personnel on tenterhooks by stepping out on a daily basis. The governor, who is provided Z class security, leaves home every morning at an appointed hour and goes to either one of his two favourite temples, both of which are located in the heart of the city.

As soon as the convoy gets ready to leave Raj Bhavan, the police stations through which the governor would be travelling are alerted via the control room. Following the call alert, the Rakshak (mobile patrol) in the area begins clearing the road for the governor’s convoy which comprises an escort vehicle with six security personnel and two Greyhounds commandos.

Apart from the daily visit to the temples, Narasimhan also takes parts in at least two public events per day as chief guest.

What is causing much consternation among the police top brass is the fact that the governor visits the temples at the same appointed time each day.

“Those on the hit list of the Maoists are not supposed to follow the same routine of movement everyday. They should change their route and time frequently to keep the enemy confused and unsure. If the enemy is watching, which it normally does with regard to its major targets, it would know at what time a VVIP moves out of his place of residence and goes to what place at what time. All this puts tremendous pressure on the security personnel responsible for his safety,” said an official.

And the worry in the case of Narasimhan is even more. This is because apart from being the governor and the first citizen of the state, Narasimhan is a retired police officer of the AP cadre who served in the central Intelligence Bureau (IB) for long years and kept tabs on various subversive elements in the country including Naxalites and terrorist and would have created potential enemies by way of the nature of his job. Besides, his family has already witnessed an assassination.

His brother, an IAS officer of Assam cadre, was killed when a bomb placed under his chair in office exploded. While the majority of the police personnel are for taking additional steps to enhance the governor’s security, a few feel that as a former IPS and intelligence officer, Narasimhan should be aware that he himself is compromising on security by sticking to a routine with regard to his movements.

“We are taking all precautions and sanitizing beforehand the area which he plans to visit. But we would like him to avoid following a pattern of leaving home at a particular hour. But the problem is, no senior police officer including the intelligence bosses are willing to tell the governor to change his style of travelling,” said a police officer

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