After losing their Ministerial berths, the legislators, who were Ministers in PDP-BJP coalition Government headed by Mehbooba Mufti, were set to lose their security cover with police authorities directing the district police officers in Jammu and Kashmir to downgrade security cover of former Ministers to the level of MLAs/MLCs.
An official order issued to this effected has been circulated to all district SSPs by the Zonal Police Headquarters of Jammu and Srinagar.
“After imposition of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir, all members of the Legislative Assembly fall under the status of MLA (except Speaker Dr Nirmal Singh) and were entitled for security as per categorization fixed by the Security Headquarters,” the official order said.
It directed the district SPs to withdraw guards/escorts/PSOs deployed over and above the categorization with MLAs/MLCs from the districts immediately.
Authorities have directed implementation of the order on withdrawal of security cover of former Ministers within two days.
There were 24 Ministers in the PDP-BJP coalition Government. They have now been rendered as MLAs or MLCs after the fall of Mehbooba Mufti-led Government following withdrawal of support by the BJP.
In view of this, police authorities have directed for withdrawal of security cover to former Ministers as they have now been reduced to MLAs/MLCs.
However, they will continue to get security cover provided to the legislators as the Legislative Assembly has only been kept under suspended animation by the Governor and not dissolved.
Sources said authorities had been receiving complaints from different quarters that some of the former Ministers in the PDP-BJP Government were enjoying security cover provided to the Ministers even now when they were just MLAs or MLCs and that it should be withdrawn immediately.
However, Legislative Assembly Speaker Dr Nirmal Singh, who was formerly the Deputy Chief Minister, would continue to get security cover provided to the Speaker. Similarly, Legislative Council Chairman, Haji Inayat Ali of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Assembly Deputy Speaker Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, will too get security cover as per their entitlements.