Hyderabad: Gunmen (personal security officers or PSOs) from the Intelligence Security Wing (ISW) who protect VIPs are not allowed to carry their weapons to other states unless the VIP gives permission, and the visiting state authority is informed.
In some cases, security personnel are provided by the state where the VIP or a protectee is visiting while in the case of Chief Ministers and other key dignitaries, an advance party (of PSOs) reaches the other state prior to the visit of the protectee.
With Hyderabad being the joint capital for TS and AP, PSOs of ministers, MLAs, IPS officers and even those protecting High Court judges routinely carry their weapons in and out of Hyderabad, with none to keep a tab over their movements between the two states.
With all VIPs and officers frequently visiting Hyderabad, their gunmen, who are supposed to deposit their weapons in the security wing of their state before entering another state, continue to carry their weapons here.
Thursday’s incident wherein a PSO from the ISW of Andhra Pradesh opened fire in a crowded bus has raised concerns among the Telangana police about the unchecked movement of weapons in Hyderabad in view of the frequent visits of politicos and IPS officers from AP.
“From the beginning, the Telangana state police has made it clear that it will not provide security to ministers, MLAs and IPS officers facing threat from different quarters, once they arrive in Hyderabad. Therefore, we are forced to take our own security personnel to Hyderabad,” an official said.
There are several IPS officers in Andhra Pradesh who face severe risk from various quarters but this unwritten arrangement between the two Telugu states of moving with their respective gunmen to any place within the two states, now seems to be bothering the top brass.
“I face a threat when I am in Telangana or AP but if I were to travel to Kerala, the threat perception is far less. In that case, we send a message to the police of that state who will arrange a PSO and the local PSO’s duty ends after seeing me off at the airport. As far as Hyderabad is concerned, most MLAS, police officers travel by road and therefore the gunmen accompany us to Hyderabad and return to AP with us,’” another official said.
While the Hyderabad Task Force teams were on the hunt for the safari-clad person who opened fire, they first checked up the state ISW and City Security Wing (CSW) as it was suspected that it could be their own PSO. All PSOs were asked to give count of their bullets as each PSO can carry 10 bullets with his 9 mm pistol.
“Later we realised that many VIPs and officers from AP keep pouring into Hyderabad and it turned out that it was a gunman from AP. It is high time that there is a protocol between the two states,’’ a police official, who was part of investigation of the case said....