Months after breach, CISF to soon take over all Parliament security

New Delhi : The Central Industrial Security Force, which is currently in charge of frisking and access control in the Parliament complex, will soon take over the entire security of the premises, three officials aware of the development said on Monday.

The new plan is based on the principle that multiple agencies should not be involved in securing one of the most high-profile complexes in the country, they said, seeking anonymity.

The CISF was drafted to be part of the security management after two young men jumped into the Lok Sabha chamber on December 13 and sprayed smoke from canisters hidden in shoes in a major security breach on the anniversary of the terror attack in Parliament in 2001.
A few days after the incident, the CISF was brought in to replace Delhi police for access control and other measures, including frisking visitors. It now has a three-layer security apparatus that works at the entry points of the complex, the gates of the new Parliament building and the library. It also secures important corridors and galleries.

Until recently, Delhi police officers and a specialised department called Parliament Security Services (PSS) oversaw access control at the gate and its different wings.
“The Lok Sabha secretariat is in touch with the concerned government departments to roll out the new system,” said a Lok Sabha official.
After the CISF came in, it introduced an entry system similar to that in airports, where all metal objects including wallets and car keys are kept aside during frisking. CISF personnel at times also insist on taking off shoes at security points as the intruders on December 13 had evaded security by concealing the canisters in their shoes.
Currently, there are personnel from Delhi police at the perimeter of Parliament and the entry gates. Additionally, 140 CISF personnel, who were brought to Parliament on January 22, are also posted at the entry gates.

Inside the complex, there are around 1,600 personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force as part of the Parliament Duty Group to deal with any intrusion or forced entry. The CRPF team is not involved in frisking.
The new plan has put a question mark on the role of the PSS that has been involved in several functions for decades. The PSS personnel are not engaged in frisking, but its role includes issuing and verifying entry passes, facilitating lawmakers and visitors, and providing an additional layer of security for the VIPs inside Parliament.
“There is no clarity as of now on the role of the PSS in the new setup. But it is a part of our own establishment. We will find some important role for them,” another official said. But some officials of the PSS have expressed concern at the lack of experience of the CISF in managing various functions of the PSS.

“We have a lot of functions related to facilitating the MPs. These are delicate issues and can’t be dealt with by the CISF as they have been trained in a different way,” a PSS functionary said. “In Parliament, there are some unwritten protocols.”
Under the new plan, the CRPF will also be replaced by the CISF to secure the perimeter. “The Delhi Police’s role will be limited to managing traffic and securing the area outside the complex to ensure no unwanted person or cars come anywhere close to the Parliament complex during a session,” an official said.
With a strength of around 200,000 personnel, the CISF provides security to airports, metro stations and at least 356 sensitive installations such as coal mines, and nuclear and power plants. Many government installations in areas with left-wing extremism in Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir are also secured by the CISF.

It is the only paramilitary force to have a separate fire unit that provides fire protection cover to at least 104 government public sector undertakings. The CISF’s fire wing has around 8,000 personnel.
Following the security breach at the Parliament last year, the Union home ministry had on December 20 directed the CISF to conduct a security survey. A detailed report along with integrated finance report was then submitted to the CISF headquarters in New Delhi.