PM Modi cancels Punjab rally over 'serious' security lapses; Amarinder calls for CM's resignation

Earlier today, the prime minister landed at Bathinda from where he was to go to National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala by helicopter. He was scheduled to lay foundation stones for development projects at Ferozepur

FP Staff January 05, 2022 19:23:43 IST
PM Modi cancels Punjab rally over 'serious' security lapses; Amarinder calls for CM's resignation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has skipped the rally in Punjab’s Ferozepur over security lapses, a statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs said. News18

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday cancelled his address at Ferozepur in Punjab over 'serious' security lapses after the Punjab government failed to deploy additional personnel owing to poor Weather Conditions .

According to a statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs, "Around 30 kms away from National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala, when the PM's convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by some protesters. The PM was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of PM."

Earlier today, the prime minister landed at Bathinda from where he was to go to National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala by helicopter. He was scheduled to lay foundation stones for development projects at Ferozepur, which is located along the Indo-Pakistan border.

However, when the weather didn't improve, it was decided that Modi would visit the National Marytrs Memorial via road, which would take more than two hours. "He proceeded to travel by road after necessary confirmation of necessary security arrangements by the DGP Punjab Police," read the statement.

The home ministry further said that the state government was notified in advance about prime minister's schedule and travel plan.

"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," it said.

"After this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda airport," the ministry added.

Taking cognisance of the security lapse, the home ministry also sought a detailed report from the Punjab government and asked to take stern action.

"What was witnessed on the flyover was a surprising scene of connivance between Punjab police and so called protestors. Only Punjab police knew the precise route of the PM. Never has such police behavior been witnessed. This is the single biggest lapse in security of any Indian PM in recent years," government sources said.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who was present on the dais, announced the cancellation, attributing it to "some reasons."

Rains lashed parts of Punjab, including Union Territory Chandigarh. Among other places in Punjab, rains lashed Ferozepur, Bathinda, Mohali, Pathankot and Jalandhar, according to India Meteorological Department's weather report.

Congress fears loss in Punjab polls, trying tricks to scuttle PM's rallies: JP Nadda

Responding to the cancellation of Modi's scheduled visit, BJP chief JP Nadda accused the Congress government in Punjab of trying "all possible tricks to scuttle the PM's programmes in the state."

"What is extremely worrisome is that this incident was also a big security lapse as far as the PM is concerned. Protesters were given access to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's route while the Punjab CS and DGP gave assurances to SPG that the route is clear," Nadda tweeted.

Nadda alleged that the state police was instructed to prevent people from attending Modi's rally and a large number of buses were stranded because of the high-handedness of the police in connivance with the protesters.

In doing so, they did not bother that the prime minister was to pay tributes to Bhagat Singh and other freedom fighters, and lay the foundation stone for key development works, the BJP president said.

He further alleged that Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi refused to address or solve the crisis. "The tactics used by the Congress government in Punjab would pain any one who believes in democratic principles," he said.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma too pointed a finger at the Congress government in Punjab, calling it disinterested in the state's development.

"Today's incident shows how Congress is least interested in development and only wants to play politics. Such a security breach in the crucial border state must be enquired at the highest levels," Sarma said.

Amarinder Singh calls for Punjab CM's resignation

Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also slammed the Charanjit Singh Channi government over the security lapse, saying it should step down if it could not ensure "smooth passage" to him.

"Complete failure of law and order in Punjab, CM and HM Punjab, in particular. When you cannot provide smooth passage to the Prime Minister of the country and that too just 10 km from the Pakistan border, you have no right to stay in office and should quit!", tweeted Singh, who has formed an alliance with the BJP for the Assembly elections.

Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, however, chose to criticise his party's government, saying the breach of security was unacceptable and against "Punjabiyat".

"What has happened today is just not acceptable. It's against Panjabiyat. A secure passage for the Prime Minister of India to address BJP's political rally in Ferozpur should have been ensured. That's how democracy works," he tweeted.

There was no security lapse, says Punjab CM

Countering the allegations, the Punjab chief minister stressed that there was no security lapse and expressed regret that the PM had to return.

"No security lapse. PM's road plans were made at the last minute. He was supposed to go by helicopter. I was up late at night overseeing security arrangements for his rally," he said.

"The Prime Minister's convoy was stopped way before the spot where protesters were sitting. To lift any protest it takes at least 10-20 mins. The PM was informed about it and also offered a different route but he chose to leave," said the chief minister at a press conference.

On the question of him not welcoming Modi at the airport, he said: "I had to receive the PM at Bathinda today but those who had to accompany me tested COVID-19 positive. Hence, I did not go to receive the PM today as I was in close contact with some who tested positive."

With inputs from agencies

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