CJI at Kamakhya with CRPF, not state cops
The Union home ministry on Saturday coordinated Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s visit to Kamakhya temple here, keeping the state government machinery out of the loop, after he refused hospitality and protocol support from Dispur.
Justice Gogoi, who arrived at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport here from Delhi at 1pm, was provided security cover by CRPF commandos. From the airport, he went directly to the temple to pay obeisance to the goddess.
Assam police and civil administration were not involved in any manner in providing security to Justice Gogoi. “As per directions from the Union home ministry, the security arrangement for the CJI’s visit was supervised by special DG of CRPF, North East zone, Prabhat Singh,” an official source said.
After visiting the temple, Justice Gogoi went to the airport and left for Hyderabad around 4pm.
The ministry took care of his protocol and security arrangements during his brief visit through central security forces in view of the lapse by the state authorities during his visit to the temple on October 17 (Ashtami). Miffed at the lapses, Justice Gogoi had sought security from the central armed forces instead of Assam police. “This is unparalleled and speaks volumes about the casual approach of the authorities concerned in dealing with the last visit of the CJI,” a senior lawyer of Gauhati High Court said.
During his visit on October 17, Justice Gogoi landed in the midst of a commotion caused by the presence of several VVIPs at the temple, prompting him to advise the Kamrup (metro) district administration and city police to carefully look into issues related to crowd management.
The commotion had been triggered by the presence of BJP national president Amit Shah, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass and cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. A large number of BJP supporters had also gathered when Shah visited the temple and Justice Gogoi was present at the same time.
After Justice Gogoi expressed his displeasure at the arrangements in the temple on October 17, the state government suspended deputy commissioner of police (West Guwahati) Bhanwar Lal Meena and Kamrup (metro) additional deputy commissioner Prasanta Pratim Kathkatia for lapses in security arrangements, breach of protocol and lack of coordination. Another controversy had marred Justice Gogoi’s visit last month when a video showing Kamrup (metro) additional deputy commissioner Pulak Mahanta referring to the CJI in a disrespectful manner went viral, leading to the official’s suspension.
Mahanta had made the remark looking at the approaching car of the CJI during the guard of honour programme at LGBI Airport on October 16.