11 April 2019
New Delhi: A major security lapse had put the life of Congress President Rahul Gandhi in danger at Amethi where he filed his nomination on Wednesday, the Congress party has informed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a letter marked 'confidential'.
The Congress believes the green laser beam that pointed at Gandhi's head on several occasions in a short period during a media interaction after he filed his nomination papers in Amethi could have been "from a potential weapon such as a sniper gun".
"A perusal of his media interaction will reflect that a laser (green) was pointed at his head, intermittently on at least seven separate occasions in a short period; including twice at his temple on the right side of the head," the Congress letter read.
"A perusal of the video by various persons including former security personnel leads to a prima facie conclusion that this laser could emanate from a potential weapon such as a sniper gun," it said, adding even a possibility like this is a cause of serious alarm and concern pointing towards a breach in the security.
The letter undersigned by senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala reminded the Home Ministry of Gandhi being a high-risk target, given India's political history which saw assassination of two former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
"In light of the fact that two members of the family, in succession, have been assassinated by terror forces owing to security breaches, it becomes a cause of grave and pressing concern," the Congress said expressing its shock and distress at the vulnerability.
The Congress has requested the Home Minister to initiate immediate action, investigate and neutralise the threat, if any. It also demanded full security protocol including appropriate sanitisation of the area, particularly during the extensive electioneering in the ongoing polls, by the SPG and the local administration.
While the Home Ministry denied receiving any letter on the alleged breach in security of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, the Ministry, acting on reports, did instruct the SPG Director to verify the factual position and concluded that there was no security breach as the laser beam from a mobile phone used by a photographer.
"The 'green light' shown in the clipping was found to be that of a mobile phone used by the AICC photographer, who was videographing the impromptu press interaction of Rahul Gandhi near the collectorate at Amethi.
"Director (SPG) has also informed MHA that this position was conveyed to the personal staff of Rahul Gandhi. Director (SPG) has confirmed that there was no security implication whatsoever," the MHA spokesperson said.