New Delhi, Jan 7: There is not an iota of doubt that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security was compromised in Punjab where he was stranded on a flyover for 15-20 minutes on January 5. Both the Centre and the state government have set up separate high-level committees to go into the whole affair. The Supreme Court is also hearing a PIL related to the incident.
According to security details now available in public domain, the Punjab police was well aware of the PM’s road trip. Letters that circulated among senior state police officials about the PM’s land route and precautions advised have now been published in several newspapers. This makes it clear that the state government knew of Modi’s travel plans. It was irresponsible on the part of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi, therefore, to claim that there were last minute changes in the PM’s itinerary. The CM’s statement that he could not have ordered lathi-charge on the farmers protesting on the PM’s route speaks volumes. It not only shows his utter lack of knowledge of security protocols involving the PM, it also demonstrates his perfunctory attitude towards such a sensitive issue not expected from a chief minister. He was, after all, a cabinet minister in the state before he took over as CM. It would be naïve to suggest that he was not aware of the security protocol.
The Punjab CM and his partymen in the state initially sought to dismiss the whole incident as routine and even alleged a political motive on the eve of the elections in the state. It is only after Sonia Gandhi’s intervention that Channi took the matter seriously and announced an official enquiry into it.
Considering the seriousness of the issue, it is imperative that strict action should be taken against senior security officials in the state responsible for the lapse. Central team coordinating with the Punjab officials must also be put in crosshairs. One cannot think of any communication glitch although it cannot be ruled out entirely.
There is now an attempt to politicize the issue. This is not fair. This will only muddle the probe. The BJP should desist from such act. Former CM Capt Amarinder Singh has been raising the issue of Pakistan’s alleged involvement seeking to foment trouble in Punjab. This should be taken in all earnest. The PM security was compromised when he was within 40 km from the Pakistan border.
Punjab is on the boil since the farmers’ agitation began almost two years ago. Anti-national elements from across the border must have been active to take advantage of the situation. Now the election in the state will offer such elements yet another opportunity.
PM’s security is synonymous with national security. It brooks no politics. Sonia Gandhi’s prompt move to upbraid her own Chief Minister deserves to be appreciated. In the heat and dust of politics, national interest must not be compromised. The BJP should not attempt to win brownie points for political reasons on the issue of PM security. The Opposition has been more responsible.