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punjab: MHA, Punjab to separately probe PM Modi visit security lapse | India News

punjab: MHA, Punjab to separately probe PM Modi visit security lapse | India News

NEW/CHANDIGARH: The Union home ministry on Thursday constituted a three-member committee headed by the secretary (security) of the cabinet secretariat to probe the “serious lapses” that left PM Narendra Modi stranded on a flyover in Punjab’s Ferozepur for close to 20 minutes on Wednesday and “exposed him to grave security risk”.

The Congress government in Punjab instituted a separate inquiry headed by a former acting chief justice of the high court into the alleged breach of security protocol, leading to PM Modi skipping his scheduled BJP rally there.

The Supreme Court also took note of the gravity of the alleged breach and agreed to hear on Friday a PIL seeking a fair probe into the incident to fix accountability of the state government, top bureaucracy and police.
The committee led by cabinet secretariat official Sudhir Kumar Saxena includes Intelligence Bureau joint director Balbir Singh and inspector general S Suresh of the SPG. The panel has been advised to submit the report at the earliest, the MHA said.

Punjab has asked the probe panel led by Justice Mehtab Singh Gill (retd) to submit its report within three days. Principal secretary Anurag Verma of the home affairs and justice department is part of it.
Central government officials alleged that what was witnessed on the flyover was “a surprising scene of connivance between Punjab Police and so-called protesters” as only state police were aware of the PM’s precise route. “Never has such police behaviour been witnessed. This is the single biggest lapse in security of any Indian PM in recent years,” a senior official said.
The MHA had said on Wednesday that the PM’s schedule and travel plans were communicated well in advance to the Punjab government. “As per procedure, they have to make the 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.
Retired judge Gill, who is currently the state’s chief vigilance commissioner, told TOI it was “a very serious matter” that the PM’s convoy got stuck. “What has been done is not acceptable, and we will fix responsibility (for it) at the earliest.”
Shortly after setting up the inquiry in accordance with the MHA’s directive, CM Charanjit Singh Channi maintained there was no laxity on the state government’s part and accused PM Modi of trying to defame Punjab with his “main zinda wapas ja raha hoon (am going back alive)” remark.
Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu termed the episode “a conspiracy to deflect attention from issues of Punjab in the name of national security”. He claimed attendance at BJP’s rally in Ferozepur was only around 500, which is why the PM turned back. “They are now trying to divide us, but we Punjabis and Sikhs, in particular, are sons of the Gurus and will remain united,” Sidhu said at a rally in Barnala.
The PM was stuck on a flyover near Piareana village on the Moga-Ferozepur route because of a blockade by farmers participating in the #ModiGoBack campaign started by farm groups demanding a legal guarantee on MSP, among other things. He was visiting Punjab after a gap of two years since his last trip to inaugurate projects cumulatively worth Rs 42,750 crore.
The state probe panel’s brief is to investigate why the police administration failed to ensure smooth movement of PM Modi’s convoy despite clear advance instructions from the police headquarters.
ADGP (law and order) Naresh Kumar Arora had on January 4 written to all commissioners of police, SSPs, IGs, and DIGs of all ranges to make appropriate security and route arrangements in their respective districts for the PM’s January 5 rally. “You are further directed to keep a watch on the movement of farmers and they should not be allowed to move to district Ferozepur to disrupt the rally. Any dharna may result in roadblocks, therefore, please make necessary traffic diversion plan in advance,” reads the communication.
In an earlier communication to all the commissioners and SSPs on January 2, the AIG (law and order) had informed them that a one-lakh-strong crowd was being mobilised for Modi’s rally.

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