Patna, April 9: VIPs in Nitish Kumar’s Bihar don’t feel safe.
Bihar has topped the list of states and Union territories providing security to its VIPs. The state has the highest number of VIPs under security cover.
A recent data released by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) revealed that 3,030 VIPs in Bihar enjoyed security at the cost of the state exchequer in 2010. At present, more than 10,000 policemen are deployed for security of VIPs in the state, sources in the police headquarters said.
According to a rough estimate, about 10-12 per cent of the existing strength of the state police force — around 70,000, including 400 deputy superintendents of police, 13,000 inspectors, sub-inspectors, assistant sub-inspectors — is engaged in VIP security.
This, in spite of the fact that the police-public ratio in Bihar is far less than the national average. Bihar has 79 policemen against the national average of 145 policemen for one lakh population. According to the 2011 census, Bihar’s population is 10.38 crore.
“Bihar has the highest number of VIPs under security cover,” said K.K. Jha, the general secretary of the Bihar Police Association. He said about 10,000 policemen were engaged in providing security to politicians (MPs, ministers, MLAs and MLCs), bureaucrats and judges.
Quoting BPR&D figures, the association’s secretary said even Punjab, which faced terrorism for decades, has almost half the number of VIPs enjoying police protection as compared to Bihar. Punjab, which is placed second on the table, has 1,685 VIPs followed by Bengal with 1,640 VIPs.
Though Bihar has deployed the highest number of policemen for VIP security, there is still a clamour for more safety cover.
At least three legislators from Muzaffarpur complained to senior police officers against “inadequate security” to tackle the threat to their lives. Later, the security arrangements of the two MLAs and one MLC were reviewed by the state police headquarters and instructions were issued to enhance their security.
“I represent a Maoist-hit area. I have to visit my constituency from time to time, but because of the inadequate security, I find it difficult to make frequent trips to the region,” said Raj Kumar Singh Raju, the Sahebganj MLA.
Bureaucrats are not behind in demanding additional security. A Bihar-cadre IPS officer, Amitabh Kumar Das, has sought Y-category security in the wake of threats to his life. He wrote a letter to the ministry of home affairs last year, which, in turn, asked the state government to review Das’s security. Das at present is posted as superintendent of railway police at Jamalpur, which comes under the Maoist-affected Munger district.
The security arrangements of ministers, MLAs and MLCs were reviewed last year in the wake of the murder of BJP MLA from Purnea Town Rajkishore Keshari on January 4, 2011.
According to sources, before Keshari’s murder, MLAs and MLCs were entitled to two armed security guards. Later, an additional guard was provided to the legislators. “Many MLAs have been given more than six security guards, while the others have been left to fend for themselves,” alleged Munni Devi, the BJP MLA from Shahpur in Bhojpur district.
Senior police officers are tight-lipped about the allotment of the large number of security guards to VIPs.
“We go by the guidelines of the ministry of home affairs while dealing with the security of MLAs, MLCs and other VIPs. The security arrangements are reviewed by the police headquarters if complaints are made,” said Ravinder Kumar, the additional director-general of police (headquarters).
However, some senior police officers don’t believe the threat perception to be the main reason behind demands for more security. “In Bihar it has become more of a status symbol,” a police officer said.