The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Breach parity for Atal and Kalam

New Delhi, Jan. 31: In the second breach of VVIP security in a day, a cyclist pedalled into a road cordoned off for President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s motorcade on its way back to Rashtrapati Bhavan from Rajghat yesterday.

Sixty-two-year-old Kirti Mani, a cook in a house in Jor Bagh, had strayed on to the protected road near Kaka Nagar. The resident of Vinod Nagar in east Delhi was taken into custody and allowed to go after a joint interrogation by police and Central intelligence agencies.

The intrusion coincided with a breach in the Prime Minister’s security when a motorcyclist almost rammed into his cavalcade, also on its way back from Rajghat. The motorcyclist was also let off after questioning following the accidental intrusion at Nizamuddin in south Delhi.

The second security breach in a day and the fourth in a fortnight has forced the Union home minister and Delhi police to take a fresh look at the arrangements. The PMO and the home ministry are working on a fresh blueprint of Vajpayee’s security.

Three meetings have already been held. The Special Protection Group, Delhi police, intelligence agencies and top bureaucrats of North Block are putting their heads together to come up with fool-proof security.

Suggestions include reverting to the old system of stopping all traffic on the Prime Minister’s route at least 15 minutes before his cavalcade is to pass through. This was later modified, with traffic now halting just before the motorcade passes.

Police are also considering installing spikes on cross sections and approach roads through which Vajpayee’s cavalcade passes. This would ensure that the tyres of any intruding vehicle are immediately deflated. The spikes would be lightweight moveable strips put in just before the cavalcade arrives.

Only those suggestions that are cost-effective and can be implemented will be listed for a decision. The blueprint will be presented to deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, when he returns from Thailand and Singapore.

German pilots barred

The Centre today barred two Lufthansa cargo pilots from flying to India for violating a no-fly zone over the Prime Minister’s residence.

The order, issued by the Director General of Civil Aviation, also asked Lufthansa to take action against the two pilots for not sticking to their flight path. Besides a written note, officials said, representatives of the German airline were also verbally told that the action of the two pilots was highly dangerous for their lives, too, as their aircraft could have been shot down as a precautionary measure by air force jets.

Lufthansa cargo plane pilot Renger and co-pilot Zoller flew their McDonald11 aircraft over the Prime Minister’s house and Rashtrapati Bhavan on November 20. Since the September 11 terror attack on the US skies, India had passed orders that the highsecurity VIP area in New Delhi would turn into a no-fly zone where commercial or private aircraft would not be allowed to fly.

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