In a scene straight out of a Bollywood movie, Lalu Prasad Yadav told NDTV “Any son’s blood will boil if he feels his father is under threat and his security is withdrawn”. He disagreed with his son’s language but not his sentiment. His 30-year-old son had earlier thrown a tantrum when the Govt reduced his father’s security.
The “security” in question belonged to the Z+ category, the maximum protection. The cordon consists of elite National Security Guard commandos and police personnel.
The National Security Guard (NSG) is a special forces unit. They are also popularly known as the ‘Black Cats’, thanks to their black uniform and the black cat insignia on their uniform. The NSG consists of the Special Action Group and the Special Ranger Group.
These commandos undergo rigorous training to master sharp-shooting, scaling buildings, rappelling from helicopters and para-jumping, using controlled explosives to break walls or doors, and a host of other special operations. Their ever-changing training module keeps up with the demand of the times. Exchange programs with other nations of the world push these elite commandos to their limit.
It is the rigorous training, discipline and determination that led these commandos to dispatch the terrorists assaulting Mumbai’s spirit. DG and IGP T Madiyal, ex-Special Protection Group, said to the Times of India “NSG is a different cup of tea altogether. What we saw on television during the terrorist attack on Mumbai may be just 10-15% of their skills. There are many skills they use only when the necessity arises.”
11 days ago, Havildar Gajendra Singh Bisht was posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra, for his involvement in securing Mumbai’s Nariman House, after terrorists took over. Injured by an exploding grenade, the wounded soldier kept forcing the terrorists to retreat into a room. He received the country’s highest peacetime military decoration for his “supreme sacrifice”— after he died.
So the real question is why are these brave men tailing politicians?
The NSG has itself petitioned to downsize the number of VVIP’s protected by them. Claiming that the job is “demoralising”, they also claim, under anonymity, that VIP’s opt for Z+ security as a status symbol, rather than a legitimate threat-neutraliser.
The commandos undergo years of rigorous training, passing a number of tests to get to the level they are at. Since their inception in 1984, they have countered terror and hijack operations, only to find themselves as private security to the powerful today.
The NSG has had many martyrs. Decorated heroes, who have risen to the occasion, and answered the call for their country, to be honoured and compensated much later. What about the ones who make it out of the operation, alive? What lies ahead?
If fresh recruits at the NSG Academy are informed that they will one day do little more than form a security detail for a former chief minister, will they still put all their heart into their training?
Our elite forces can be used elsewhere, where their skills will be truly used.