Comfort of the cordon

Having witnessed the gross misuse of armed security provided by state police forces to various shades of politicians throughout the country, I don't see how any of them would now be willing to surrender this undue privilege. They have got so used to the presence of armed policemen around them that life without them would be simply unimaginable. Armed personal security officers running errands, including carrying their baggage at railway stations and even their families' in market places, is a common sight.

Recently, there were reports on how a bench of the Supreme Court, hearing a petition on VIP security, found the criteria cited by the Delhi Police for providing security to individuals both amusing and annoying. The Union home ministry and the Delhi Police commissioner, it was reported, were asked to come back with more plausible reasons than certain functionaries needed security, not just because of the positions they held, but because it helped them take "bold and unbiased decisions". In my humble view, there is little hope of relief to the common man through judicial intervention here, since the higher judiciary is also a recipient of state munificence in this area.

The norms of VIP protection in our country need to be thoroughly overhauled to make them less obtrusive and more people friendly. The flashing red and blue lights on the cars of protected persons serve no purpose. On the contrary, they make the task of the potential assassin easier by helping him identify the target.

Research has proved that numerous weapons in public places add to the general threat quotient. Why then do we see so many automatic-gun-toting policemen on the roads of our cities and towns? Our present VIP security system is also, I am sure, shooing off foreign tourists. The lack of training in handling the weapons given to the majority of policemen is another area of serious concern.

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