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Security lapse during PM’s Punjab visit sets a dangerous precedent

6/01/2022 at 6:59 PM

By Arun Joshi

Two things are very clear: there was a breach of security during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab on Wednesday, which he had to cut short because of the security lapses and secondly, it has set a wrong precedent the way it happened.

Punjab government has ordered a probe into the security lapses and the panel, so constituted, has been asked to submit its report in three days, that being that, but that doesn’t explain why Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi had to jump the gun and refute the charge of security lapse with his own version . Therefore, it is clear that there was a security lapse and only a fair probe would prove what went wrong , why and how .

The more worrisome thing is that it has set a  dangerous precedent. And the primary responsibility lies with the Punjab government. What happened in Punjab on Wednesday could give ideas to the anti-national elements. There are many forces, external and internal, that want to sabotage the political stability of the country as also its international image. They want to harm the country in every possible way.

Modi represents the stability of the nation. He is seen as the Indian icon of strong leadership who has shifted country’s thinking toward development and broader vision of winning by scientific temper at the international level.

Punjab government cannot escape its responsibility, and the whole turn of events needs to be analaysed in a dispassionate matter. This doesn’t need an extra emphasis that the Prime Minister of the country is an institution, and Modi is there where he is,  because of the massive mandate of the people. Even the remotest obstruction cannot be condoned. Prime Minister has visited various parts of the country at regular intervals, but nowhere, until yesterday, there were such lapses.

Whenever and wherever Prime Minister goes, whether poll time or otherwise, his security protocol is to be followed in letter and spirit. There are states in the country where non-BJP governments are in power, but the security of Prime Minister was never compromised. The PM represents the nation, any compromise with his security has a direct fall out on the national security.

Therefore, the Punjab government’s  excuse that there was a “ sudden change in the programme – that the PM was to travel to the rally site in Ferozpur by chopper  but undertook the journey by road..”  Even in this case , it was the duty of the state administration to ensure that there was no huddles enroute .

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s assertion , the agitators came out all of a sudden and staged a sit-in. This, on the face of it is to hide the facts and weave a fiction . It also tantamount to an admission  that the Punjab government did not take the security protocol of the Prime Minister as seriously as it deserved. This, all of a sudden theory, is to escape responsibility and a very crude attempt to cover up the failure of such a huge magnitude. Even if the mode of transport had to be changed because of the packed weather, where was the plan B  of the Punjab government?

 The agitators,  who, the Chief Minister claimed staged a rally coinciding with the timing of the passing of the PM’s cavalcade from the same route, did not come from anywhere.   They must have come from their villages , media had been carrying reports that they would disrupt PM’s rally or cause other obstructions.

Home Minister Amit Shah is absolutely right in seeking details from the  Punjab government on this episode that posed a serious threat to Prime Minister.  He is also right in his assessment that “ Such dereliction of security procedure in the Prime  Minister’s visit is totally unacceptable and accountability will be fixed.”

As head of the state government, it was his responsibility of Chief Minister to ensure the smooth visit of Prime Minister. It doesn’t matter to which party  Modi belongs to, it is the question of the security of the Prime Minister of the country elected by the countrymen. No state or no political differences should have been allowed to come in between.

Amit  Shah‘s observation “ Today’s Congress made happening in Punjab is a trailer of this party thinks and functions. Repeated rejections by the people have taken them to the path of insanity. The topmost echelons  of the Congress owe an apology to the people of India for what they have done.”

Punjab government could have learnt lessons from other states, especially the militancy-affected states like  Manipur, Jammu and Kashmir . In 2014, soon after Modi became Prime Minister, he visited J&K every month, inaugurating the development projects, addressed poll rallies for the Assembly elections, and the state government was headed by National Conference’s Omar  Abdullah. Chief Minister Omar was very critical of Modi and his policies but made it a point to observe and oversee minutest of details about the PM”s visits and the security thereof. All resources were used to ensure that there was no disruption in the visits.

About the Author:

Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.

DISCLAIMER

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com

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