Sunday, December 5, 2010



 A strange request from the External Affairs Ministry's protocol office has stumped Delhi Police and security and intelligence agencies.

They have been told to find short height personnel within 24 hours to be detailed for the security of French President Nicolas Sarkozy arriving here on Sunday. 

Records of staff are not maintained height-wise and hence a desperate hunt is on to locate those who are less than 5 feet 5 inches. There may not be many who meet the criteria as most handling the VVIP security in the capital are tall, hailing from the Jat and Gurjar communities of neighbouring Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

The protocol office is only acting on the French embassy's pointer that their president, who is 5 feet 5 inches, is sensitive about his height and hence he should not be surrounded by very tall security personnel when he meets the Indian leaders on Monday.

NO PAPARAZZI: Another request has gone out to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary and Director-General of Police to ensure the still and TV photo journalists do not trail Sarkozy in Agra as he wished to have no paparazzi to allow him private moments with first lady Carla Bruni.

Paparazzi is an Italian term for the photo journalists trailing celebrities and Sarkozy knows they are bound to swarm around to catch ex-model wife Carla on their cameras. He, therefore, got it conveyed through the French embassy here that his visit to the Taj Mahal is a strictly private affairs and better if the Media is not allowed free access to wherever he goes in the city.

A directive has, therefore, gone out to authorities in Agra that there will be only one photo opportunity when the French President and wife visit Taj, and that too to only two lensmen, one Indian and one French.

Sarkozy, who began India trip from Bangalore, flew into Delhi on Saturday and then left for Agra to enjoy the Taj Mahal in the moonlight in deference to the wish of his wife planning for months to get a feel of the beautiful structure built by Mughal emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. 

He returns to Delhi on Sunday and meets the Prime Minister and a host of other leaders only on Monday as he wants to keep Sunday also free to spend with Carla.


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