Rajnath wants armed guards to accompany him on flights
The home ministry has sought the aviation ministry’s permission to allow an armed security officer to accompany Union home minister Rajnath Singh on domestic commercial flights.
Sources said the request was made in April in view of increased security threats to the home minister, who is one of the most heavily guarded politicians in the country and has the topmost Z-plus category security cover. Singh’s mobile security cover includes commandoes from the National Security Guard.
“Permission has been sought for the accompanying PSO of the home minister to carry arms and ammunition on board commercial flights,” an aide of the home minister said.
The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), which reports to the aviation ministry, is said to have opined initially that only a select group of VVIPs, including the Prime Minister, President and those protected by the Special Protection Group (SPG), are allowed to be accompanied by an armed PSO on board commercial flights.
“These are sensitive security-related issues. Carrying a weapon inside an airport or an aircraft requires a whole lot of clearances and coordination between various agencies, airport authorities and airlines,” an official said.