On the 5th of January, 2022; a huge controversy erupted. PM Narendra Modi was forced to wait for 20 minutes on a flyover when he was enroute to the National Martyr’s Memorial at Hussainiwala. Due to this, the Prime Minister had to cancel his rally in Ferozepur that was organized for the upcoming Punjab elections. The Prime Minister’s cavalcade was stranded on the Moga-Ferozepur highway, as it was blocked by protestors, which took place around 1:05 p.m.
Immediately after this incident came to the news, it grew to be more controversial, with conspiracy theories and arguments blowing up on social media. Few opposition leaders began mocking and denying the fact that there was a major security breach. The Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi remarked this incident as a ‘gimmick’ in a press conference ,while the ruling party and supporters slammed them, alleging ignorance and netizens engaging in a fight.
On serious introspection, a series of inside details have been revealed arising from multiple questions. There were a lot of inconsistencies, the way the entire journey was carried out. As per the SOP’s, whenever a Prime Minister of the country visits a stat, the Chief Minister of the State, the DGP and the Chief Secretary are commanded by law to receive the Prime Minister and accompany him throughout the way.
However, none of them were present to receive him. Although, the entire journey through which the Prime Minister was supposed to travel was to be coordinated by the SPG, ASL and the State Police, keeping the road route safe for the Prime Minister’s visit was the responsibility of the State Police. But there was no police deployed on the road, through which the PM ‘s cavalcade was passing through.
Source – hindustantimes.com
A video that was released, gave a shocking revelation, where 8 persons were found running besides the PM’s cavalcade, on the other side of the divider, barely 7-8 feet from the PM’s car, which was a serious security breach. Another video was released by one of the protestors in which the state police were seen with the protestors having tea, which had gone viral. While the state authorities sighted the reason for the security lapse due to change of route in the last minute (for bad weather), a former DGP stated that, not only is the State police mandated to have a contingency route ready with the deployment of the police, but it is part of the SOP that the DGP or a designated vehicle for the DGP to travel in the PM’s cavalcade.
An interesting discovery made a few days later, there was a secret intel note warning the Punjab government of threat and blockade to PM Modi, 3 days prior to the incident. The note which was dated on January 2, said that the PM faces a grave threat from terror outfits such as the HuM, TTP, IM, HuJI, LeT besides Left Wing Extremists and remnants of LTTE cadres. It specifically mentioned that Pakistan-based terrorists Wadhawa Singh Babbar, Paramjit Singh Panjawar, Lakhbir Singh Rhode, Ranjit Singh Neeta have been making efforts to target VIPs during the election process in a bid to revive militancy in Punjab.
Source – news18.in
The intel note highlighted the fact that the venue of the program is located at an aerial distance of 14-15 km from the border with Pakistan. It had also made a mention about the current dissatisfaction of certain Farm Unions to the PM on the MSP issues, compensations, etc and stating that ‘Some sort of demonstration/agitation cannot be ruled out on the way to Hussainiwala where these farmer unions have their stronghold.’
The PM’s security breach was widely criticized by most of the leaders from the ruling as well as a few sections of the Opposition parties. From Smriti Irani to HD.Devegowda, the issue sparred among the leaders. Former PM, HD. Devegowda saw this incident as unfortunate and added, “At no point should we be complacent when it comes to protecting the highest executive office of India.We should learn from the past.” Puducherry’s former LG Kiran Bedi said that, “Plan to ambush the Prime Minister did not succeed. This is a 100 percent administrative failure. The Prime Minister of this country survived a horrific attack.”
The Former CM of Punjab Amrinder Singh criticised the Punjab Government and accused them of ‘being incompetent.’
Source – republicworld.com
The Supreme Court has appointed a high level committee to probe the security lapse headed by the former Chief Justice of India. The Central government formed a three-membered panel to investigate the security breach that stranded the PM’s convoy. The MHA had issued a show cause notice to the Bathinda SSP and 5 Senior officials. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs have also supported a petition in the Supreme Court to have a thorough probe with the involvement of NIA as they are suspecting the involvement of ‘international terrorist angle.’
The Punjab Government had also ordered its own two member panel to probe any lapses the next day. It was asked to submit the report within 3 days. Recently, about 15 SC lawyers who are handling the case received threats calls from a UK number reportedly where the banned outfit named Sikh For Justice (SFJ) took the responsibility for the blockade of the PM’s convoy.
In a recent virtual meeting, the Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi expressed his regret over the PM’s security breach and added that “You are honorable to me and all of us. I regret whatever happened during his visit to Punjab,” Channi said and added, “Tum salamat raho qayamat tak, aur khuda kare qayamat na ho,” saying in Hindi, he wished for a long life for Prime Minister Modi.
Written by- Venkatavardhan S
Edited by- Ubai Sura