Sonia gets Parliament security escort

PTI file photo

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla is learnt to have issued instructions to Parliament security staff to escort Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in and around the Parliament building.

The Speaker has also asked the security staff to escort Sonia in and out of the Parliament building through Gate No 8, which is used by the Deputy Chairman and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

The special instructions were issued to avoid mobbing of Sonia, who till recently enjoyed security cover by the elite Special Protection Group, whose officers had permission to move around in the Parliament Building.

Sonia now enjoys Z-plus security cover provided by the commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). However, CRPF personnel do not have permission to enter Parliament building with weapons.

Inside the Parliament building, the watch and ward staff are responsible for the security arrangements. The watch and ward staff does not carry weapons.

Sonia was seen walking in Parliament through Gate No 1 alone for the past two days. Party MPs escorted her inside the building, but movements were often interrupted by crowding in certain areas.

Senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury approached the Speaker with a request that Sonia be escorted around the Parliament building by the watch and ward staff. The request was acceded to by the Speaker.

Congress leaders had protested both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha over the withdrawal of SPG security cover to the Gandhi family.

Youth Congress workers took to the streets to demand restoration of SPG security to the Gandhi family.

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