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Sunday, June 4, 2023

How PM Modi’s Punjab visit was deliberately compromised

After the Punjab CM Channi, himself made light of PM Modi’s security breach, reports have emerged indicating that the Congress government in Punjab deliberately ignored inputs thereby jeopardizing the PM’s security. A sting operation by The India Today revealed that specific inputs were ignored and cops on duty were told not to act against the ‘protestors’.

The confirmation of the involvement of the Baldev Singh Zira group in the incident comes from the Punjab police that revealed the group had planned to assemble. Ferozpur’s DSP (CID) Sukhdev Singh said “The Baldev Singh Zira group had planned earlier to assemble. I informed the SSP. They marched and broke the barricade following which we informed the SSP again. We also informed the higher authorities when the group staged the blockade. The prior intelligence report was also given as is the norm. I handed over the letter saying roads are getting blocked to ADGP Nageshwar Rao when he had come.”.

Ex-DGP Nirmal Kaur writes:

The pre-decided alternate route was not adequately protected by the Punjab Police, which is clear from the uncontested fact that a large number of demonstrators managed to block the pre-decided route, nor were any serious attempts made to remove these demonstrators.

Nor do the local forces present near the relevant area appear to have provided any notice of the presence of the demonstrators to the SPG unit handling the “proximate” security of the PM, which at least would have allowed the prime minister’s convoy to stop in a relatively secure zone…

…The fact remains that the prime minister stood exposed on a narrow road at an elevation, and with little by way of an escape, for a substantial amount of time. So is the Punjab chief minister’s claim that since there were persons carrying the BJP banners on the flyover where the PM’s convoy was stranded, the PM could not conceivably have been under serious threat.

It is worth remembering that the assassin who killed ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had in fact masqueraded as a supporter. The most dangerous response, however, comes from those trying to link the security failure to wider political developments.

Some of the revelations made by the sting operation include information about the protestors being shared with police authorities, cops were ordered not to forcibly evacuate the protestors, illegal liquor being allowed to function on the prime minister’s route, and Jan 2 alert regarding ‘farmers’ blocking roads was ignored among others.

“This was a well-planned conspiracy that was hatched at the chief minister’s residence with the CM himself being the prime conspirator. Never before in the history of the State have three DGPs and four Directors of the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) been changed in such a short period”, opined SAD (Shiromani Akali Dal) leader Bikram Singh Majithia. Majithia also said that a probe should be conducted to find out who gave instructions on route clearance to compromise the safety of PM while adding that the Congress government was focused on vendetta politics.

Several questions are now being raised regarding the active connivance of the Congress government of Punjab. The Centre has said that Punjab violated PM security blue book even as one Congress leader after another from the state has been claiming ‘conspiracy’ by BJP to ‘defame’ the Channi government as also the state and its people. They also insisted that there was no threat to the PM’s life.

With these revelations, the Punjab Congress government has a lot to answer for. In the meanwhile, the apex court has formed a four-member panel, headed by retired SC judge Indu Malhotra, to probe the matter.

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