Z-Category Security For BJP's Riot-Accused Leader Sangeet Som

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Lucknow:  BJP's Uttar Pradesh lawmaker Sangeet Som, accused of inciting riots in Muzaffarnagar last year, has been given top level security by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

Mr Som has 11 policemen protecting him. He will soon have around 22 security guards and bulletproof cars after the home ministry upgraded his security cover to 'Z' category, just one level below union ministers and Chief Ministers.

"It is a professional decision based on inputs from intelligence agencies about a threat to his life," said Sudhanshu Trivedi, a BJP spokesperson.

Mr Som was accused by the UP police of making inflammatory speeches and uploading a fake video that was one of the triggers of the September Muzaffarnagar riots. At least 60 were killed and tens of thousands left homeless in the violence allegedly fed by incendiary political speeches.

The legislator from Meerut was arrested after the riots and released on bail in November. Days later, he was felicitated at a BJP rally shortly before Narendra Modi arrived to campaign for the national election in May.

The BJP has said its leaders were falsely accused by the state's Samajwadi Party government.

Since the party took power at the Centre, the list of politicians given special security has increased from about 150 to over 200. That a riot-accused politician has also made it to that list has outraged political parties.

"It is a travesty that victims of the riots are suffering. But those who are responsible for riots are being provided Z security. What could be more ironic?" said Congress leader Manish Tewari.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Tariq Anwar added, "A man who is a rioter himself has been given such security. The BJP government is responsible for that."

The BJP, however, says the decision to protect Mr Som was based on merit, and should not be seen in relation to cases against him.


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