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Two months after death, Bal Thackeray's security removed

It’s been almost two months since the death of Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray, but the Mumbai police have only now initiated the process of removing the security cover that had been accorded to him. The first set of security personnel were called off last week, with around 30 constables deployed by the Protection Branch being given a fresh new set of responsibilities, the man in their protection having passed away.

Security outside Matoshree
Security outside Matoshree in Bandra two days before  Bal Thackeray passed away in November. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The delay was attributed to respect for the grieving family. Each security guard draws a salary of at least Rs 20,000 per month. The police said that a committee headed by the state’s chief secretary is likely to review the remaining security cover next month, and more police personnel are likely to be removed soon.

Police cover outside Matoshree
Police cover outside Matoshree on the day of Bal Thackeray’s death on November 17, 2012. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The Maratha strongman who passed away on November 17 last year enjoyed security cover of the Z-plus category, which is offered to an exclusive clique of about 15 people in the country, including some of the nation’s most high-profile politicos. Those who are accorded security of this category are provided a retinue of 36 guards when they travel.

The entourage includes a police inspector, two assistant police inspectors, two police sub-inspectors, two escort vehicles with six constables in each, and 10 constables in each shift. A bulletproof vehicle (Balasaheb preferred an ambassador) completed the retinue. Thackeray’s entire security squad worked in three shifts, and included around 30 state reserve police force (SRPF) jawans, a bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) that would inspect venues that he visited, along with local police.

Uddhav Thackeray is guarded by a retinue of 24 guards, enjoying Z grade security. Other members of the immediate family enjoy X level security cover, with two policemen guarding each. “In all, around 200 policemen, including local police staff from the Kherwadi police station, SRPF jawans and police personnel from the Protection Branch were posted at Matoshree at any time of the day,” said a source from the Mumbai police.

The State Intelligence department had submitted a report after the Hindutva icon’s death in November. On the basis of that report, the security cover is being removed in phases, while taking care that Uddhav and other family members still have adequate security. “We have removed the 30 constables deployed in securing Bal Thackeray,” confirmed ACP Madhukar Pandey, from the Protection Branch of the Mumbai police, without offering further details.

The police attributed the delay in removal of the security cover to the fact that the family was in mourning, saying that they did not want to rush into things. “Now that Bal Thackeray is no more, there is no threat. However we will take care that adequate security is provided to others,” said the police source.

Thackeray enjoyed Z level security till 1990, but after his radical stance on Hinduism exposed him to threats, he was upgraded to the Z plus category. “Soon, the chief secretary is likely to review the security provided in the city, and more security cover is likely to be withdrawn,” said a police officer.

2
Number of guards for each member of the family. Uddhav has 24

200
Number of cops who are posted at Matoshree at any time of the day

20,000
The minimum monthly salary of the policemen who are on guard 

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