There was a life-threatening security lapse during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Punjab on January 5. PM Modi was to address public meetings.
In what has raised many eyebrows, lyricists and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar Monday (January 10) said the threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Punjab was imaginary.
“Our PM has met the president to discuss a vague n according to many an imaginary threat to himself when he was in a bullet proof vehicle surrounded by the body guards with LMGs but has not uttered a word when 200 M Indians are openly threatened by a genocide. Why Mr Modi?” he posted on the social media platform Twitter.
On January 5, when PM Modi was in Punjab to address public meetings, his convoy was stuck on a flyover in Ferozepur for over 20 minutes when some ‘protestors’ had blocked his way. PM Modi met President Ram Nath Kovind on January 6 and apprised him of the development.
Taking cognisance of the security lapse, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had 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 had 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. The state’s home minister, home secretary and Ferozepur district collector were also missing from the PM’s convoy.
It was revealed on January 6 that Punjab Police itself had written at least three internal memos regarding dangers to the prime minister and security arrangements. One of the memos 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.
On Monday (January 10), the Supreme Court ordered that it would constitute a committee under a retired Supreme Court judge to look into the matter. Earlier, it had ordered the registrar of Punjab & Haryana High Court to seize all the security-related documents pertaining to the prime minister’s visit.
Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Manish Tewari had criticised the Punjab government for mishandling the prime minister’s security. He said that there was a grave security risk to the prime minister.
“Where his convoy was stopped, it is only 10 km away from the Indo-Pak border. Heavy artillery is usually deployed by Pakistan at the border,” Tewari said.