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Nothing to suggest attack on Mamata premeditated; lapses in her personal security & route bandobast by local SP: EC spl observers | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Special observers Ajay V Nayak and Vivek Dube have, in their joint report to the Election Commission on the recent incident in Nandigram that had left chief minister Mamata Banerjee injured, stated that there were no significant pointers to suggest any pre-meditated or planned attack on her convoy.
However, based on a joint report of the East Midnapore’s district magistrate and superintendent of police (SP) and available video footage of the incident, they concluded that there was a lack of coordination between security arrangements by the police headquarters and local SP due to frequent changes to the chief minister’s tour programme, no approval was taken from returning officer for the place where the incident happened and there was a blatant disregard of security protocols.
Accordingly, the special observers recommended “stringent action” against the director security Vivek Sahay – who was accompanying the chief minister at the time of the incident and sitting in the bulletproof vehicle meant for her – for his “flippant” attitude towards the security of the chief minister, a Z-plus protectee, and his failure to ensure adherence to laid-down security protocols, while also suggesting removal of East Midnapore DM Vibhu Goyal and SP Pravin Prakash.
The returning officer of Nandigram assembly constituency was quoted in a report of the DM and SP of East Midnapore sent to the special observers, stating that the chief minister received an injury at the time of connecting with people assembled at Birulia Bazar in Nandigram. The special observers noted that the RO did not mention an attack on the convoy/person of the CM. While noting that the matter was under investigation and it would be premature to come to any conclusions regarding the incident, Nayak and Dube did add that “there are no significant pointers to suggest that there was any premeditated or planned attack on the convoy of the Honourable CM”.
The special observers recommended the constitution of a committee, comprising West Bengal home secretary and DGP, by the EC to identify all the proximate security personnel who may have failed in their duties to prevent the incident and protect the chief minister. They suggested that EC issue a direction to all the ‘star campaigners’ to strictly adhere to laid down security arrangements and protocols.
While observing that Banerjee was known to prefer using a normal vehicle rather than the BP vehicle which is “sine qua non” for the protection of the VVIP, Dube, and Naik underlined that even if the VVIPs choose to flout the security norms as they consider BP vehicles a hindrance in connecting with the adoring masses, “it is incumbent upon the security detail to prevail in such matters lest it should lead to tragic consequences”.
Based on the video footage in the public domain, the special observers noted that there were a large number of people surrounding the CM and jostling around while the carcade was still in motion. Stating the Mamata seemed to be standing with the car-door open and greeting the people as the convoy moved, the observers said it was not clear why the security personnel travelling in other vehicles in the convoy did not come out to surround the VVIP’s vehicle to keep the alleged miscreants away.
The special observers also wondered why the vehicle of the CM was not brought to a halt by the driver when she opened the door and was standing at the foot-board. As for the version that the car door may have hit a pole and banged back, causing injury to the CM, the observers said while the same can be established only after the investigation is complete, the driver should have been trained well to halt the vehicle immediately when the car door was opened.
The observers’ report also pointed out that the lead security mobile was kept behind the VVIP vehicle, as it is supposed to know the locations of all safehouses and medical centres where the VVIP could have been taken after the incident.
Importantly, the observers pointed out that Mamata, “for unknown reasons”, was rushed to SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, due to which a lot of time was wasted in providing her immediate medical attention.
Raising questions on the district administration, the special observers said the district police was required to provide a strong route-bandobast for the travel of the chief minister. Stating that the CM was expected to visit a temple situated close to the scene of the incident, the EC said a separate contingent of police officers was deployed at the temple. “It begs the question as to why a strong route-bandobast was not provided to stop the crowd from coming close to the Honourable CM’s vehicle,” the observers noted while terming the bandobast arrangements as slack and which led to the unsavory incident.
Citing the joint report of East Midnapore DM and SP, the special observers said it was bizarre that they resorted to “a floating security arrangement” in view of several and frequent changes to the CM’s tour programme, which was not in consonance with the security protocols prescribed for high dignitaries such as the CM.
The special observers also reported to EC that no approval from the returning officer, as is mandatory, was taken for the spot where the incident took place as no scheduled event was to be held at Birulia Bazar. This, they added, was also why neither the flying squad, not the video surveillance team was assigned to cover the event.

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