BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
Guwahati, Jan 10: Militancy in Assam may no longer pose the kind of threat it once did, but for politicians and bureaucrats in the State, security cover remains a coveted status symbol. Even retired bureaucrats, supposedly still facing ‘threat to life’, cling on to gun-toting personal security officers (PSOs) years after they left office. As for serving bureaucrats, there are instances galore of PSOs assigned to them being misused by family members.
As per laid down procedure, family members of VVIPs and VIPs, top or retired officials, cannot take PSOs with them. But in many cases, family members are seen moving about with PSOs for personal and domestic works. This is particularly true for wives of many VIPs and top officials, who go for shopping and family duties with PSOs in tow.
“Normally no family member of VIPs or officials can take PSOs with them to any place, as per laid down norms. A family member can, however, take the PSO assigned to the respective person, if the family member is also facing a genuine threat to life,” sources pointed out.
On Monday morning at Khanapara area of the city, an altercation suddenly broke out between the PSO accompanying the wife of Kamrup deputy commissioner Vinod Seshan and two youths over parking of their vehicles. The PSO in a fit of rage brandished his service revolver at the two youths who had parked their bike at the parking lot.
How the wife of a deputy commissioner took his PSO to an ATM booth, is the question being asked.
On the other hand, there are many long-retired IAS and IPS officers in the State, with no credible threat to their lives, but still provided with PSOs to this day.
A source said that the State government should accord police protection to retired officials strictly on the basis of threat perception.
The State and district level security review committees should scrutinize carefully those being provided such security cover, rather than handing it around liberally as some sort of status symbol to keep netas and retired babus happy.
In particular, PSOs attached to retired officials and VIPs, who have no threat perception, should be withdrawn immediately.