Four former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, including Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad, are likely to lose their Special Security Group (SSG) protection as the union territory’s administration has decided to wind up the elite unit established in 2000, officials were quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The move comes a little over 19 months after the Centre had issued a gazette notification — Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020 — on March 31, 2020, amending the Special Security Group Act of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir government by omitting a clause that provided former chief ministers and their families with SSG security.
Officials said the decision was taken by the Security Review Coordination Committee, a group that oversees the threat perception of important leaders in Jammu and Kashmir.
The officials were quoted as saying by PTI that the SSG will be “right-sized” by reducing the number of the elite force to the “bare minimum”. It will be headed by an officer below the rank of Superintendent of Police as against Director, who is of the rank of Inspector General of Police and above.
However, the officials feel there was a re-think over the downsizing of the SSG as some experts within the police force feel that this may hamper the preparedness of the elite unit.
However, Farooq Abdullah and Azad will continue to be provided the security cover of the National Security Guard, also known as Black cat commandoes, as both of them are Z-plus protectees.
Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba will continue to have Z-plus security cover while in Jammu and Kashmir, but are likely to have reduced security outside the union territory.
The leaders will be provided security by the district police as well as the security wing based on the threat assessment, the officials said.