NSG security layer to be withdrawn from Badal, Yogi and other 11.

New Delhi, January 12:

As part of its continuing effort to rationalise the system of providing security to VIPs, the Centre has decided to withdraw NSG commandos from the duties of protecting such individuals, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Sources in the government said, the decision to withdraw National Security Guard (NSG) from duties of protecting VIPs has been taken as a follow-up withdrawal of SPG cover from the Gandhis and effectively rationalising the roles of such elite forces.

The black cat commandos of the elite counter-terror force will be taken off from VIP protection duties after over two decades. The task of protecting VIPs was not part of the original scheme of things when the NSG was conceptualised and raised in 1984.

The force provides proximate and mobile security cover — commandos armed with sophisticated assault weapons — under the top ‘Z+’ category to 13 ‘high-risk’ VIPs that entails about two dozen personnel for each one of them.

Besides the Defence Minister and the UP Chief Minister, the others among 13 provided with NSG protection include ex-CMs Mayawati, Mulayam Singh, Chandrababu Naidu, Parkash Singh Badal and Farooq Abdullah, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani.

Sources said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) “is of the view” that the NSG should concentrate on its original charter of handling specific tasks of counter-terrorist and anti-hijack operations and that the task of securing high-risk VIPs was proving to be a “burden” on its limited and special capabilities.

The removal of VIP security duties from the NSG will result in freeing about 450 commandos, who will be used to enhance the fighting components of the force that is spread across five hubs in the country and a main garrison in Gurugram near Delhi, sources said, adding that the task of protecting those 13 protectees would now be given to paramilitary forces such as the CRPF and the CISF, which already provide security to about 130 prominent persons jointly.