PM Narendra Modi in Punjab and a security lapse: 10 points on what happened
PM Narendra Modi was forced to cancel a Punjab election rally on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, due to a major security breach. This has led to BJP and Congress taking pot shots at each other.
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In a disturbing turn of events to the 2022 Assembly election battle, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was forced to cancel his Punjab rally due to a security breach on Wednesday. PM Modi was on his way to the Hussainiwala National Martyrs Memorial from Bathinda, in Punjab, when his convoy got trapped on a flyover due to a road blockade by protesters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi trapped on flyover in Punjab amid security breach. Photo: PTI
Such a major lapse in the PM’s security has not been seen in recent time. The lapse is being treated very seriously and the Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from the Punjab government over the incident.
BJP IT Cell Chief Amit Malviya made an explosive claim saying that the security lapse was a ploy to 'assassinate' Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This deliberate security breach is nothing but an attempt to assassinate the Prime Minister and the Congress government in Punjab is responsible for it.Just because the Congress can’t defeat PM Modi politically, they are resorting to unconstitutional means to eliminate him… pic.twitter.com/iExvUJAXwB— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) January 5, 2022
Here are 10 facts on what happened in Punjab today:
1. CHANGE IN PLANS
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to fly to the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala by helicopter after landing at Bathinda airport.
However, due to poor weather conditions, it was decided to travel to the memorial by road. The journey would have taken 2 hours. The Prime Minister’s Special Protection Group (SPG) was assured by the Punjab Police that the route to the memorial was clear.
MHA said that the DGP of Punjab Police, Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, had assured them that necessary security arrangements were made.
2. FLYOVER BLOCKED BY PROTESTERS
However, 30 km from the memorial, when the Prime Minister’s convoy reached a flyover, the route was blocked by ‘some protesters’. Due to the blockage, the Prime Minister was trapped on the flyover for nearly 15-20 minutes.
“The Prime Minister’s schedule and travel plan was communicated well in advance to the Punjab Government. As per procedure, they have to make necessary arrangements for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready,” the MHA statement read.
3. PM DECIDED TO TURN BACK
The Punjab Police were able to clear the route ahead for the Prime Minister, however, it was decided to turn back and return to Bathinda airport due to the major security lapse.
4. MODI TAKES A JIBE AT PUNJAB CM
Officials at Bhatinda Airport tell ANI that PM Modi on his return to Bhatinda airport told officials there,“Apne CM ko thanks kehna, ki mein Bhatinda airport tak zinda laut paaya.” pic.twitter.com/GLBAhBhgL6— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2022
ANI quoted unnamed officials at Bathinda airport that Prime Minister Narendra Modi told them to thank their Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi that he was able to reach the airport alive.
5. WHAT WERE THE 5 MAJOR LAPSES?
The Prime Minister’s convoy getting stuck on a flyover is a major security breach that cannot be brushed off as political pot shot amid an election season. These are the 5 major lapses in the PM’s security:
- Protesters were permitted on PM’s planned route
- There was no pre-emptive action by the Punjab police
- The PM’s convoy was stationary for an unacceptable length of time
- There was either an omission or intelligence failure
- There was a failure to ensure predictability in the Prime Minister’s schedule
6. POLITICAL POT SHOTS
The BJP immediately blamed the Punjab Congress government and the state police for having jeopardised the Prime Minister’s life intentionally. The party also said that the Punjab Police gave up trying to provide security during the incident.
BJP also claimed that Punjab CM Channi did not take phone calls during the time and ignored the incident.
7. PUNJAB CM CHANNI RESPONDS
Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi addressed a press conference clarifying the lapse in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security. Channi said that there was no security lapse and that there was no attack on the Prime Minister. He denied that the Prime Minister was in harm's way at any point in time.
If there were any security lapses during PM Modi's visit today, then we will conduct an inquiry. There was no danger to the prime minister: Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi pic.twitter.com/bQU6BJuipI— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2022
Channi said that the PM's last-minute decision to travel by road took them by surprise. He said that it was only a few farmers who were protesting peacefully and they were being asked by the Punjab Police to remove the blockage. He said he had given instructions to the police not to remove the protesters by force.
Channi also said that he himself had faced protesting people over the past few days on his route and they were asked to move peacefully.
8. PUNJAB GOVT REJECTS CHARGE
The Punjab government reacted to BJP’s allegations saying that there was no security lapse as being claimed. Punjab minister Rajkumar Verka claimed that security breach accusations are baseless and that there were no shortcomings in the PM’s security arrangement.
There were no shortcomings in the security arrangements during the PM's visit to Punjab today. The accusations of a security breach are baseless. The truth is that BJP's rally was a flop show. When PM got to know this, he decided to return: Punjab minister Rajkumar Verka pic.twitter.com/VqSYEhs39k— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2022
Verka claimed that PM Modi decided to return as no crowd had turned up for the Ferozepur rally and it was a 'flop show'.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala in a press conference said that the party is aware of the security seriousness for a Prime Minister, having sacrificed two previous Prime Ministers. He also said that the Punjab government, police, or the Congress party can't be accused of trying to harm the PM if it took a few minutes to clear protesting farmers from the way.
9. FEROZEPUR POLICE TAKE ACTION
India Today reported that the Ferozepur SSP Harmandeep Singh Hans has been suspended over the Prime Minister’s security lapse.
10. WHO WERE THE PROTESTERS?
Protesting farmers blocked Prime Minister Modi's convoy on the way to rally in Punjab. Photo: PTI
It is unknown who exactly the protesters were who started marching near the Prime Minister’s convoy during his visit. However, security near the rally venue had been beefed up since Tuesday, January 4, 2022, as a farmer union Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) had called for protests over the Prime Minister’s visit.
There were several other farmers groups that had called for protests and burning of the PM’s effigies during his visit.