Z+ security shield for UP riot accused

Meerut/New Delhi :  The BJP has defended the decision of the Narendra Modi government to give Uttar Pradesh lawmaker Sangeet Som — who is also an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots — ‘Z’ plus category security.

According to government sources, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh extended the special privilege to Som after receiving intelligence input that there was a serious threat to the latter’s life. Curiously, the UP government claimed that no such input was given to the MHA on the issue.

Som was arrested for his alleged role in uploading of a fake video that is said to have incited communal tension in Muzaffarnagar. The top layer security cover essentially means that Som will have around 22 security guards protecting him. He will also be provided a bulletproof car. His security cover is now just one level below that of union ministers and Chief Ministers.

“It is a professional decision based on inputs from intelligence agencies about a threat to his life,” said Sudhanshu Trivedi, a BJP spokesperson.

The legislator from Meerut was accused by the UP police of making inflammatory speeches, which it claimed had triggered the September riots. At least 60 persons were killed and tens of thousands left homeless in the violence. He was arrested after the riots and released on bail in November. Days later, he was felicitated at a BJP rally shortly before Narendra Modi arrived to campaign for the general election in May.

The BJP has said its leaders were falsely accused by the state’s Samajwadi Party government.

Since the BJP assumed power at the Centre, the list of politicians given special security has increased from about 150 to over 200, reports a TV channel.

“It is a travesty that victims of the riots are suffering. But those who are responsible for riots are being provided Z security. What could be more ironic?” said Congress leader Manish Tewari.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Tariq Anwar added, “A man who is a rioter himself has been given such security. The BJP government is responsible for that.”

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