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Indian court slams politicians’ gun-toting entourages

NEW DELHI, Oct 26, 2007 (AFP) – An Indian court has criticised politicians who surround themselves with scores of gun-toting bodyguards, advising them to stay home if they fear frequenting public places, a report said Friday.
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“I do not know why it has become a matter of prestige for them to move with 10-15 uniformed security personnel carrying lethal weapons,” said Justice T.S. Thakur of the Delhi High Court, according to a Times of India report.

“Their presence in public places itself threatens the common man. If these people (the politicians) feel so threatened they should not come out in public places.”

Thakur also said Indian politicians should not be protected as if they were a “national asset,” the report added.

He also complained that a Supreme Court judge was even told by bodyguards to face the wall while he crossed paths with a politician on a New Delhi street.

Thakur made his remarks to a government lawyer in a public interest lawsuit pressing for police reforms aimed at making the force more independent from political influence. .

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