The Centre has decided to withdraw the special security group (SSG) protection of four former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir.
The decision to withdraw their SSG protection of National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah, his son and party vice president Omar Abdullah, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad was taken after a security review meeting by the government, official sources said.
The SSG is a specialised security unit in Jammu and Kashmir created to protect chief ministers and former chief ministers in the former state.
“The decision is clearly political and a response to our increased political activities,” said Omar Abdullah, adding that he was not informed about the development.
“But none of this will silence us. The timing is important. All ex-CMs have become more vocal and taking on government,” he said.
“No one had the courtesy to inform us about it,” Mr Abdullah said.
Mehbooba Mufti also said she was not informed about the withdrawal of security.
“I have not been informed about it formally. I can’t say why they are doing it,” the PDP leader said.
“You know the kind of situation we are living in. Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cavalcade was stopped in Punjab and how it was projected. Here in Kashmir they are withdrawing our security,” she said.
All the four former chief ministers will now be protected by security wing of J&K police based on their security categorisation and threat assessment.
“The Committee decided that the Ex-CMs of J&K shall be provided the security by the security wing as per their present categorization i.e., Z+ by name, with additional escorts/measures as per necessity and assessment of the Security wing,” reads an official communique.
Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad are also protected by National Security Guards (NSG), the protection provided by the central government based on threat assessment of two former chief ministers.