To cut down the 'demoralising' practice of having elite counterterror commandos of the National Security Guard acting as bodyguards for VIPs, the Union home ministry has decided to remove Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi and former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi from the NSG protection list.
These four VIPs could now receive protection from a paramilitary force, said an MHA source.
Though threat perception is meant to be the primary reason for protection for political leaders, such security has of late become a status symbol, says the Hindustan Times.
The NSG at this time is in charge of the security of 15 VVIPs, including former deputy prime minister LK Advani, home minister Rajnath Singh and leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
According to a home ministry official, a meeting of the protection review group headed by home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi had discussed the issue last week and pruned the list of those protected by the NSG.
"The final approval from home minister Rajnath Singh is awaited," said the source.
A senior NSG official said the practice of deputing counterterror commandos as guards "is very demoralising for them".