JAMMU: “Political persons” in Jammu & Kashmir who hold no constitutional, statutory or honorary posts have been travelling in government vehicles for several decades now in the name of security, according to a document of the state home department.
These protected persons are workers, office bearers of the PDP, NC, BJP, Congress, CPI(M), besides media persons, businessmen, social activists and former legislators and former ministers.
“As many as 641 security vehicles are deployed with various political protected persons on security grounds. Out of these, 308 vehicles, including 40 hired ones, are deployed with political persons who do not hold any constitutional, statutory or honorary posts with the Union or state government,” Tahir Hussain, director (finance), state home department, stated in the document.
Every year, the state government spends over Rs 1 crore on fuel charges on these 308 vehicles of protected persons to ferry them and their families, the document reads.
The total fuel expenses incurred on these vehicles last year was Rs 1,04,94,110, which is budgeted as security-related expenditures (SRE), it said.
Arun Kandoo, a lawyer at Jammu and Kashmir High Court, alleged that instead of security cover, the vehicles have become a status symbol and part of VIP culture in the state.
“There is need to put an end to this. The state government should withdraw these vehicles and save the taxpayers’ money,” Kandoo said.
A senior police officer, however, explained that the security wing has the charter of providing security to protected persons, vital installations, and to secure venues during sensitive events.
The security wing of Jammu and Kashmir Police was set up under the command of an officer of the rank of additional director-general (ADG) or inspector-general of police (IGP) for security of various types of protected persons.
“The role of the wing has assumed more significance since the rise of militancy in the Valley. Personnel are mostly deployed with various categorised protected persons for providing physical security to them and their immediate family members,” the officer said.