New Delhi. In a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday (January 11), Akhil Bhartiya Poorva Sainik Seva Parishad (ABPSSP) expressed concern over life-threatening security lapses during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Punjab on January 5.
ABPSSP requested the President to take action as “deemed suitable to see such unacceptable security lapse doesn’t recur and a strong message goes to all those responsible including our neighbours.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on an official visit to Punjab on January 5 to take part in some public meetings. His convoy was stuck on a flyover for over 20 minutes in Ferozepur, as some ‘protestors’ had blocked the road. The prime minister was safely rescued to Bhatinda airport, from where he flew back to Delhi.
The ABPSSP said, “The security of the Prime Minister was thus compromised, which could have resulted in very serious consequences for the country, especially as the incident took place in close proximity to India’s border with Pakistan. Multiple lapses were found in the security arrangements of the prime minister. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi made light of the threat, saying were any stones thrown at the PM? Were any bullets fired at him?”
PM Modi met President Ram Nath Kovind on January 6 and apprised him of the development. Earlier in the day, President Kovind had expressed concern over the Prime Minister’s safety.
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.
On January 6, it was revealed 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 liasioning for the prime minister’s security.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday (January 12) constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Supreme Court Justice (Retd) Indu Malhotra. Although the court did not set a deadline, it asked the committee to submit the report at the earliest.