The Gandhi family will no longer have Special Protection Group (SPG) cover, the government has decided, government sources have said. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will now have Z Plus category protection.
Sources close to the Gandhis say they have not been informed.
The decision was taken after a security review recently, said the sources. The SPG, an elite force of 3,000, are now tasked with protecting only Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Z Plus security means the Gandhis will be guarded by personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The decision is set to become a huge political flashpoint, with Congress leaders perceiving the move as a “downgrading” of the security of the Gandhis, who have been under SPG cover since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
The SPG was set up or the security of prime ministers and their families in 1985, a year after Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards.
After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the SPG Act was amended to provide security to former PMs and their families for 10 years.