Dear netas and nation, leave security for Kejriwal to Kejriwal

Why are Shinde and his home ministry acting with such alacrity on intel inputs on ostensible threats to Kejriwal’s life – inputs that are rarely put in place with intelligence to arrive at conclusive conclusion at other times?

shantanu

Shantanu Datta | January 16, 2014



Does Arvind Kejriwal require security, and if yes, under which category from X to Z?

That could well be a debate on media – of the social, traditional and 9 o’clock talk TV variety. But it becomes a bit of a glitch when politicians (both from government and the opposition) start dancing to the tune, almost ready to tap min SMS answers to some online poll, and even courts and the police start responding to it. (Thankfully, though, the Delhi high court refused to let one petitioner, a lawyer, waste any more of its time and dismissed the PIL asking for the court’s intervention to get the Delhi chief minister take security).

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The debate was started by union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who last week said the government was doing its “duty”, and that Kejriwal was “getting security without his knowledge”. This, according to Shinde, was the fallout of the recent attack on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) office at Kaushambi, in Ghaziabad on the eastern border of Delhi. “We have asked the local police that if not directly they can post their men in the vicinity of these locations," Shinde said on January 10.

That attack on January 8, incidentally, was the fallout of senior AAP leader Prashant Bhushan’s remark on January 5 that was extrapolated to mean that he was favouring a referendum on whether army deployment should continue in Jammu and Kashmir.

Now, the fallout of Shinde’s January 10 remark was seen the following day, when Ghaziabad Police declared that Kejriwal was receiving Z-category security, though it is not known whether the step was taken with or without the CM’s “knowledge”, as Shinde would like to put it.

Either way, the fallout of Bhushan’s comment, which ostensibly triggered it all – including the national debate over security to Mr CM – did not stop at the attack on the AAP office. The Hindu Raksha Dal followed it up by attacking Bhushan’s press address on January 13.

Some quick questions for Mr Shinde, then:

  • Should it not be Bhushan who should draw the home ministry’s attention for security after two attacks, including one at an event where the senior supreme court lawyer was present, by a fringe group following a controversial remark he made?
  • The Z-category security that Kejriwal is purportedly getting from the Ghaziabad Police now costs the exchequer Rs 36 crore, and 30 cops securing him and his family 24x7, every month. Whose money is the home minister playing politics with?
  • If Kejriwal does not want additional security, and it’s his constitutional right not to seek it, why is the government forcing it on him based on some intelligence alerts?
  • And, finally, why is the home ministry acting with such alacrity on intel inputs – inputs that are rarely put in place with intelligence to arrive at conclusive conclusion at other times?
  • Like the high court told the petitioner, Anoop Awasthi: “Who are you? What is your interest? The person for whom you are seeking security is himself not interested…. He is aware of the consequences…. He is the man who has to protect all of us. He is the chief minister; he is the State. It is the duty of the state to protect citizens; we don’t need to protect him.”

Somewhere in this national debate, the political has become personal, and the personal political.

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