New Delhi/Chandigarh: In a “‘major security lapse”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was stuck on a flyover in Punjab for 15-20 minutes on Wednesday due to blockade by some protesters and returned without attending an event at a martyrs’ memorial.
Reacting sharply, the Union Home Ministry asked the Punjab government to fix responsibility for the serious lapse and take strict action.
The prime minister also could not attend a rally in Punjab’s Ferozepur.
According to a ministry statement, the prime minister landed this morning at Bathinda in Punjab from where he was to go to the national martyrs’ memorial at Hussainiwala by helicopter.
Due to rain and poor visibility, the prime minister waited for about 20 minutes for the weather to clear.
“When the weather did not improve, it was decided that he would visit the national martyrs’ memorial via road, which would take more than two hours. He proceeded to travel by road after necessary confirmation of security arrangements by the DGP Punjab Police,” the statement said.
Around 30 kms away from the national martyrs memorial in Hussainiwala, when Modi’s convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by some protestors.
“The Prime Minister was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of the Prime Minister,” the statement said.
The home ministry said the prime minister’s schedule and travel plan was communicated well in advance to the Punjab government and as per procedure, they have to make necessary arrangements for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready.
Also, the home ministry said, 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.
“After this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda airport,” the statement said The home ministry, taking cognisance of this serious security lapse, has sought a detailed report from the Punjab government.
The Punjab government has also been asked to fix responsibility for this lapse and take strict action, the statement said.
Punjab had seen massive protests against the Centre’s three farm laws since November 2020 and these were repealed last month.
“The prime minister wanted to meet you all, but because of some reasons he is not going to be with us today. The PM has said that these programmes have been postponed and not cancelled,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said at the Ferozepur public meeting.
BJP president J P Nadda accused the Congress government in Punjab of trying “all possible tricks to scuttle” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s programmes the state.
“Protestors were given access to the Prime Minister’s route while the Punjab CS (chief secretary) and DGP gave assurances to SPG that the route is clear.
“‘To make matters worse, Chief Minister Channi refused to get on the phone to either address the matter or solve it. The tactics used by the Congress government in Punjab would pain anyone who believes in democratic principles,” Nadda said in a tweet.