File photo of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
New Delhi: The Union government has decided to extend NSG cover to Assam Chief Minister Sarbanonda Sonowal citing threats from Northeast-based insurgent groups. Sonowal was first given Z+ category security by the Union Home Ministry, which has now decided that the threat is serious enough to ask India’s elite commando force NSG to guard him.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh and 12 other senior political leaders are protected by the NSG. But Sonowal is only the second Chief Minister after UP counterpart Akhilesh Yadav to be given the NSG cover.
A top source in the Home Ministry confirmed the order to CNN-News18 and said, “As Chief Minister of Assam, he is under constant threat from insurgents and jehadi elements and hence the decision to rope in NSG.”
Threat perception for two other CMs — Prafulla Mohanta and Tarun Gogoi — was also reviewed and downgraded recently. While Z+ security will continue for these former chief ministers, it will be CRPF and the state police which will guard them and not the NSG. Tarun Gogoi has cried foul after the decision, accusing the BJP government of “playing politics” over his security. But central government sources say that a regular review of NSG protectee’s threat perception is done and the decision to renew or downgrade is taken depending upon the threat assessment.