Mehbooba’s accident: PDP raises questions on former CMs security protocols

SRINAGAR — A day after People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti escaped unhurt in a road accident, her party raised questions on Friday about the security protocols in place for the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister.

The PDP said the “lapses” in Mufti’s security were evident.

“In the recent incident where Mehbooba Mufti narrowly escaped a road accident, serious security lapses were evident. The management of Local Road Clearances for X Plus protected vehicles during the incident was inadequate, posing a significant security concern,” senior PDP leader and former Jammu and Kashmir minister Naeem Akhtar said on X.

Two persons, including a security personnel of the PDP chief, were injured on Thursday as Mufti had a narrow escape in a road accident at Sangam in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

Mufti’s vehicle collided with a civilian car at Sangam, a police official said.

Akhtar said the withdrawal of Mufti’s spare car, a standard part of escort duty, is deeply troubling and raises questions about the security protocols in place for the former Union minister.

“Delayed Arrangement of Alternative Car: The fact that it took an hour to arrange an alternative car from Srinagar for the security department is unacceptable. Z+ security typically includes an optional car in the escort, highlighting a serious lapse in preparedness,” he said.

The PDP leader said these lapses demand immediate attention and a clarification from the authorities concerned.

“The absence of a police statement on the matter raises further concerns and underscores the need for transparency and accountability in addressing these security lapses,” Akhtar added.

PDP general secretary, organisation, Mehboob Beg expressed deep concern over the “inadequate management” of Mufti’s travel convoy.

“The accident involving Mufti’s vehicle points towards the lack of detailed drill for a Z+ protected person travelling on a highway which remains busy and has a history of targeted attacks. Against the backdrop of Kashmir’s turbulent history and the vulnerability of mainstream leaders to targeted attacks, any compromise in security measures is a matter of grave concern,” Beg said in a statement.

The incident demands a thorough examination, considering the potential risks associated with compromising the security of a former chief minister, he added.

Expressing concern over the alleged delay in arranging an alternative car for Mufti from Srinagar, Beg said a “compromised security detail” for a former chief minister not only jeopardises the safety of the individual, but also raises questions about the broader commitment to ensuring the security and stability of the region.

These lapses demand immediate attention and a clarification from the authorities to ensure the safety and security of public leaders, he said.

Beg said the incident involving Mufti underscores the necessity for a revaluation and reinforcement of security measures for all mainstream political leaders in Kashmir.

“Authorities are urged to conduct a thorough investigation into the lapses, ensuring that any shortcomings are addressed promptly to prevent the recurrence of such incidents and to uphold the safety of political leaders in the region,” he added. — (PTI)