The Tamil Nadu police proudly flaunted the security arrangements for the Prime Minister’s visit for the Chess Olympiad in July 2022. A report in the Indian Express, said “the Greater Chennai Police have put in place a five-tier security arrangement and have deployed 22,000 personnel ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city on July 28 for the inauguration of the 44th International Chess Olympiad.” Let us see whether the TN Police and intelligence turned the state into a fortress or this is all just a façade. The Hindu report stated “A senior police officer said the Director General of Police C. Sylendra Babu had ordered the drafting of a huge contingent of police personnel to provide security for the participants and the VIPs participating at the global event.”
In 1984, after a failed bombing attempt on Margret Thatcher, the Irish Republican Army which claimed responsibility said, “Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always.”
VIP security has evolved over times and several protocols have been put into place. The Prime Minister of the country is an SPG protectee and he is the most protected man.
A shocking information has come to light that PM’s security had been approached by the Tamil Nadu Police in a lackadaisical manner. The PM’s visit during July 2022 went off without any security incident.
A Prime Minister’s visit to a state has to be taken with extreme seriousness and the SPG will be conducting liaison meetings with all the stakeholders before the arrival of the PM to the state. Only after ensuring fool proof security arrangements, the SPG will be briefed and the visit goes ahead.
A security audit was conducted by a central agency, which found multiple lapses in the security arrangements, gadgets, etc. According to highly placed sources, the Ministry of Home Affairs, has shot of a letter to the TN police flagging these violations. The source added that, for the Prime Minister’s visit, security gadgets like Hand Held Metal Detector, Door Frame Metal Detector, were collected all over the state. Gadgets like these were used in vantage points for the PM’s visit. The security audit by a central agency revealed that most of the gadgets used by the TN Police for the PM’s security were obsolete. They were outdated and many were not in working conditions. Most of the gadgets were badly in need of repairs and none took responsibility for the pathetic condition of these gadgets and no explanation came up says the communique. None of the equipment brought from Central Zone Trichy worked added the source.
In intelligence parlance, such lapses are viewed very seriously by the security establishment. The Rajiv Gandhi assassination exposed the poor conditions. Justice Verma in his report rapped the TN police. He said, “all that the Home Ministry and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) did was to bounce notes off each other, in which they discussed ideas like deputing Rajiv’s former security men to Delhi Police for his protection, but did not take a single concrete step. And left him to the mercy of a police force that was not good enough and partymen who did nothing to ensure his safety. (Emphasis supplied).
For such a serious security lapse heads should have rolled. Unfortunately, steps should have been taken and responsibilities fixed so that such a shameful lapse doesn’t recur. However, TN’s top power center Davidson Devasirvatham conveniently has failed to apprise the Chief Minister about this. Davidson, who has been keeping the Chief Minister completely in dark about many happenings in the state, with a view to save his skin, has shot off a circular to his unit offices responsible for the safe maintenance and upkeep of the security gadgets. However, Davidson is unperturbed by this fiasco. According to sources close to him, he enjoys the full trust of CM MK Stalin and he is considering himself as the brain behind this government. He won’t be disturbed till 2024, they said.
A senior intelligence officer said, “This lapse is very very serious. Responsibility should have bee fixed. But nothing has happened.
Just imagine if some one smuggles a weapon evading the metal detectors. Imagine if he fires and some one dies. This government would have been dismissed. Such is the seriousness of this lapse”.
Neither HoPF Sylendra Babu, nor IG Intelligence Senthil Velan did not answer queries in this regard. How MHA is going to view this security lapse during a PM’s visit remains to be seen.