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Z-plus security for Muzaffarnagar riot accused stirs row

Z-plus security for Muzaffarnagar riot accused stirs row

New Delhi: The central government's decision to give the highest level Z-plus security to BJP leader and Muzaffarnagar riot accused Sangeet Som stirred up a controversy Tuesday, even as BJP leaders defended it on the basis of threat perception.

The Congress and Samajwadi Party slammed the government for providing security to a riot accused.

"It is ironical that riot victims are homeless and the accused are being given security," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

"I am surprised at how a criminal can be given Z-plus security," Congress leader Rashid Alvi said.

Samajwadi Party's Naresh Agarwal called it an irony as Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for stopping communal violence in his Independence Day speech.

"The prime minister is talking about stopping communal violence, and on the other hand, a person accused of communal violence is given Z-plus security. It shows the difference in what the BJP says and what it does," Agarwal said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party defended the decision, saying security is given on the basis of threat perception.

"Security is given on the basis of threat perception. Many Congress leaders also have Z-plus security. It is given by the government to its citizens on the basis of threat perception," BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said.

Sangeet Som, a BJP legislator from Uttar Pradesh, was accused of fuelling communal hatred during the 2013 riots in Muzaffarnagar.

Som was accused of circulating a fake video that escalated the unrest that resulted in the communal riots, and was also arrested for his role.

According to reports, the home ministry gave Som the security as he had threats to his life.

Z-plus security gives a person a cover of 36 security personnel.

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