New Delhi: Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday thanked all the personnel of the Special Protection Group (SPG) for dedicatedly protecting him and his family for years and said it was "journey" filled with "affection and learning".
"A big thank you to all my brothers and sisters in the SPG who worked tirelessly to protect me and my family over the years. Thank you for your dedication, your constant support and for a journey filled with affection and learning. It has been a privilege. All the best for a great future," he said in a series of tweets.
His remarks came after the Narendra Modi-led government withdrew the SPG cover given to him his mother and Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi and his sister and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
The Gandhis have now been provided 'Z plus' security provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The SPG security will be withdrawn from their New Delhi residences after the CRPF takes over the responsibility.
The Gandhi family has been enjoying the SPG cover since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991.
According to the government officials, the decision to withdraw SPG security, the country's highest grade of protection, was taken after a review involving the Cabinet Secretariat and the Ministry of Home Affairs with inputs from various intelligence agencies.
In the wake of the latest decision, the top security cover will now be given only to the Prime Minister. The 'Z plus' security means the Gandhis will be guarded by around 100 CRPF personnel.
According to procedures laid down by the SPG Act, 1988, the Gandhis' SPG security cover was renewed annually after a review of threats faced by them.
The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. In August, the Centre had also withdrawn SPG protection given to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur and they were accorded 'Z plus' security of CRPF.