Ministers To Be Frisked In Modi Security Upgrade

NEW DELHI — Ministers and officers will be frisked when meeting or coming near Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the home ministry was quoted on Tuesday as saying.

The ministry’s communication to States cites an “unknown threat” to the prime minister, Press Trust of India said.

It said the home ministry has issued new security guidelines to states in the wake of an “all-time high” threat to Mr Modi.

The communication says not even ministers and officers will be allowed to come too close to the prime minister unless cleared by the Special Protection Group (SPG).

The communication cited an “unknown threat” to Mr Modi. He is the “most valuable target” in the run-up to the 2019 general election, officials privy to the development were quoted as saying.

Mr Modi’s security apparatus was reportedly reviewed threadbare recently after the Pune police told a court on June 7 that they had seized a “letter” from the Delhi residence of one of the five people arrested for having alleged “links” with the banned CPI (Maoist).

The Shiv Sena, an ally of the Modi government has described the alleged Maoist letter as laughable.

The purported letter allegedly mentioned a plan to “assassinate” Mr Modi in “another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident”, the police had told the court.

In a recent editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena said that it is amusing that the police had exposed a letter mentioning a plot to kill Mr Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. “The Maoists are purchasing advanced ammunition, on one hand, while they are leaving back a letter plotting to kill Modi and Fadnavis as evidence. The experts have expressed doubts on it,” said the editorial.

The SPG has reportedly advised Mr Modi, who is the main campaigner for the ruling BJP, to cut down on road shows, which invite a bigger threat, in the run-up to the 2019 poll, and instead address public rallies, which are easier to manage, an official said.

This is not the first time a plot has been unearthed to assassinate Mr Modi.

In his avatar as Gujarat chief minister, his security arrested and killed a Muslim couple for allegedly plotting to assassinate Mr Modi. A court later ruled they were killed in a fake encounter.

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