Press Trust of india

Youth Congress leader provided security as per entitlement: J&K to SC

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New Delhi, May 25:  The Jammu and Kashmir Police today told the Supreme Court that a youth Congress leader, who has claimed that the security provided to him was withdrawn by the authorities without notice, was an ‘X-2 category protectee’ and was being provided with security as per his entitlement.

Denying the claims of Abid Imitaz Bhat, national secretary of the All India Youth Congress, the state police told a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra that his security was not withdrawn and the February 19 recommendation of Security Review Coordination Committee (SRCC) was implemented in his case.

In an affidavit filed by Munir Ahmad Khan, Additional Director General of Police (security), Jammu and Kashmir, the police has said that Bhat’s case was placed before the SRCC and after assessment of threat, he was categorised as a ‘X-2 protectee’ by the panel at its meeting on February 19 this year.

“It is humbly submitted that the present petitioner has requisite security as per his entitlement on the date of filing of the contempt petition and even as on date. The security provided to the present petitioner has not been reduced below his entitlement as X-2 category protectee,” the affidavit, filed through advocate Shoeb Alam who represents the Jammu and Kashmir government, said.

“The entitlement of an X-2 protectee is that of 2 PSO’s (personal security officer) in the Kashmir region or one PSO in the Jammu region,” it said, adding, “It is false and denied that after March 12, 2018, the security of present petitioner was ever reduced below his due entitlement as X-2 category protectee.” The X-2 level is one of the sub-categories of the X level security.

The affidavit said that Bhat was stationed in Delhi and as per the procedure, he was provided with security as and when he visits Jammu and Kashmir pursuant to his intimation to the security control room.

“The state is duty-bound to follow all directions passed by this court and it is most respectfully submitted that there is neither any violation of any undertaking nor willful disobediance or otherwise of any orders or directions of this court,” it said, adding it has been decided that Bhat shall henceforth be provided with PSO, as per his entitlement, who can accompany him on his visits throughout the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

During the brief hearing, Bhat’s counsel said they would file a rejoinder to the affidavit, after which the bench posted the matter for hearing after summer vacation.

When Bhat’s counsel said the affidavit should have been filed by the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, advocate Shoeb Alam said, “chief secretary has nothing to do with it. The affidavit has been filed by the ADGP (security)”.

On May 22, the apex court had asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to file an affidavit on the plea by Bhat who has sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the authorities for withdrawing his security without giving him any notice.

In March, the state government had informed the top court that it has provided X-2 category security cover to Bhat, who has complained of threat to his life.

The apex court had then directed the state to continue to provide security cover to him unless there was a change in threat perception and said the state government should give due notice to Bhat before his security cover was withdrawn.

In his fresh plea seeking contempt action against the J and K authorities, Bhat has claimed that pursuant to the apex court’s order, four security guards were provided to him by the state, but later almost all of them were recalled.

The SRCC, which comprises senior officials of the State and the Centre, assesses the threat perception and level of security cover required for citizens, including VIPs.

Bhat had initially moved the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the state to provide security to him and his family members on the ground that he faced threat to his life.

The high court had summoned the Chief Secretary of the state after its counsel had failed to inform the court about the next date of meeting of the high-level SRCC.

The J and K government had later moved the apex court challenging the orders of the high court summoning the Chief Secretary. The apex court had later stayed two orders of the high court summoning the Chief Secretary of state.

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