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Parliament gives nod to new SPG Bill, denies Gandhis top security cover


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The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill 2019 restricting the use of elite SPG only to the Prime Minister and his/her family members.

The passage of the bill came amidst protests by Congress members in the upper House over the security breach in Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's residence a few days ago. 

"Security cannot be a status symbol; why this clamour for SPG," home minister Amit Shah said in the House during the debate on the bill. "Threat and security cover should be delinked and SPG cover should only be for the head of state," the minister added.

"This is the 5th amendment in the SPG Act. This amendment is not brought in by keeping Gandhis in mind, but, one thing that I can say for sure is that the previous 4 amendments were done by keeping only one family in mind," Shah further said, adding, "three members of Gandhi family being given security cover by personnel who were part of SPG previously."

Taking a potshot at Congress, Shah said that when SPG security cover of Manmohan Singh and other non-Gandhi families was withdrawn, the party members did not demand discussion in the House. Home Minister also clarified that there was political vendetta in bringing The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill. 

Earlier, the Congress attacked the government over the security breach, alleging that the incident showed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah had put the lives of its leaders at risk.

The opposition party also said it wanted to protest inside Parliament over the issue as the home minister had told the Lok Sabha that adequate security will be provided to the Gandhi family, despite the withdrawal of the SPG (Special Protection Group) cover.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)