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Now on, even ministers and executives won’t be able to come close to Modi

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The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued new security guidelines to all the States in the wake of an “all-time high” threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As per the communication, not even Ministers and officers will be allowed to come too close to the Prime Minister unless cleared by the Special Protection Group (SPG). The communication cited an “unknown threat” to PM Modi. He is the “most valuable target” in the run-up to the 2019 general election, officials privy to the development said.

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The Special Protection Group (SPG) is believed to have advised Mr. Modi, who is the main campaigner for the ruling BJP, to cut down on road shows, which invite a bigger threat, in the run-up to the 2019 poll, and instead address public rallies, which are easier to manage, an official said. The close protection team (CPT) of the Prime Minister’s security has been briefed about the new set of rules and the threat assessment and instructed them to frisk even a Minister or an officer, if necessary.

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The Prime Minister’s security apparatus was reviewed threadbare recently after the Pune police told a court on June 7 that they had seized a “letter” from the Delhi residence of one of the five people arrested for having alleged “links” with the banned CPI (Maoist), another official said. The purported letter allegedly mentioned a plan to “assassinate” Mr. Modi in “another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident”, the police had told the court. Besides, during a recent visit to West Bengal, a man was able to break through six layers of security to touch the Prime Minister’s feet, sending the security agencies into a tizzy. Following the two developments, Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Director of Intelligence Bureau Rajiv to review the Prime Minister’s security .

Rajnath’s directive. In that meeting, Singh directed that all necessary measures be taken in consultation with other agencies to suitably strengthen security arrangements for Mr. Modi.

Maoist-hit States like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal were termed sensitive by the Home Ministry and the police chiefs of these States were told to be extra careful during the Prime Minister’s visits, the official said. Security agencies are believed to be specially monitoring the Kerala-based Popular Front of India (PFI), an outfit that the government believes is a front for radical groups.

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