The massive security breach that led to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cavalcade being stuck on a flyover near Punjab’s Ferozpur for around 20 minutes and the subsequent cancellation of his rally has led to a major political controversy. While the Home Ministry pointed out the lapses on the part of state government, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said the entire incident will be probed and denied any security lapse or situation of any attack.
However, a report by The Indian Express has highlighted the lapses on the part of the state police and administration which supposedly failed to respond to protocols mandated for the PM’s security.
PM Modi, who landed in Punjab’s Bathinda and had to take the road route to Hussainiwala in Ferozepur because of inclement weather, was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes due to a blockade by some farmers of the Bhartiya Kisan Union Krantikari (Phul).
While the farmers union said it was not aware of the PM’s plan to travel by road, their state general secretary Baldev Singh Zira admitted that that the Ferozepur SSP had informed them that the PM and his convoy would take that road. However, he said the farmers thought this was a mere ruse to get them to stop the protests and disperse.
“We were there to stop the BJP vehicles. Had we known that the PM was actually travelling on this route, our reaction would have been different. After all, he is our PM too,” Zira was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.
The change of plan was promptly conveyed to the Punjab government and the police. The Indian Express quoted sources saying that Punjab DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya informed senior members in the Government as the PM’s convoy came to a halt on the flyover.
They also said that the DGP was in favour of “using force” to disperse the protesters so that the cavalcade could move but was told to exercise restraint. the DGP was told the police should not do anything which could put the state government in a fix as had “happened during police action against anti-sacrilege protesters at Behbal Kalan after the incident of sacrilege at Bargari in 2015”, according to the report.