In the interview, a few protestors meeting Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi could be seen smiling.
Punjab's Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi was on his way to attend an official event. He was being 'interviewed' by an India Today journalist when some 'protestors' suddenly blocked the convoy's way.
CM Channi asked his driver to stop the vehicle and went ahead for discussion with the 'protestors'. He said, "Look here, these protesters want to stop me. These protesters came to stop me, should I kill them…Ten people came to stop my car. Police surrounded the convoy. His [PM Modi's] car was not even stopped. His vehicle was a kilometre behind [the demonstrators]…To demonstrate is a democratic right. They [protesters] must be employees of some department who want their demands to be met before the Model Code of Conduct kicks in. This is why they are demonstrating on this route today."
The interviewer was India Today's Ashok Singhal. India Today's interview has multiple holes that the media house did not even pretend to fill. A closer look at the interview reveals glaring holes. A handful of protestors suddenly decide to block the road for CM Channi and are so angry that they laugh and smile while India Today tries to capture every frame of the 'interview'.
CM Channi convinces them since they had already been granted an appointment for Friday (January 7), there was no need to block the road. The 'protestors' happily nodded in agreement. He also tells the viewers that PM Modi should have similarly talked to 'protestors'.
A day before, on January 5, CM Channi had said that he could not receive the prime minister and join his convoy because some members in his team had tested positive for Covid-19 and had isolated himself as a precautionary measure. On the same day evening, he did a press conference with no mask and flanked by people. On January 6, again, he did an interview with no mask and in the company of people.
Taking cognisance of the security lapse, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a press statement. It said, "The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) taking cognisance of this serious security lapse has sought a detailed report from the state government. The State Government has also been asked to fix responsibility for this lapse and take strict action."
It added, "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. Also, in view of the contingency plan the Punjab Government has to deploy additional security to secure any movement by road, which were clearly not deployed."
When the prime minister visits any state, the chief minister, state DGP and chief secretary receive the prime minister and accompany him. But, in Punjab's case, all there were absent from the Prime Minister's convoy.
It was revealed on Thursday (January 6) that Punjab Police itself had written at least three internal memos regarding dangers to the prime minister and security arrangements. One memo had exclusively asked for making alternate arrangements for traffic diversion. These memos were shared with 11 ADGP rank officers, including one who was liaisoning for the Prime Minister's security.
The MHA constituted a three-member committee on Thursday (January 6) to investigate the lapses.