The PM’s cavalcade remained on the bridge for over 15 minutes.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister was subjected to an unprecedented security breach when his cavalcade was grounded for 15 minutes on a flyover as he made his way to the Hussainiwala National Martyrs Memorial, 30 km away, and a resulting rally.
The journalists interviewed police officers, local officials, and protesters who blocked the road to find out what was driving the violation, the urgency of politics, and the inaction of the state police and administration. There was a series. per protocol.
When the PM landed at Bhatinda airport at 10.20 am, it was raining in Bathinda. He waited for over 30 minutes for the weather to clear before deciding to drive to the Hussainiwala memorial at Ferozepur, 122 km away, around 11.15 pm.
The Punjab government and the police were informed immediately of this change of plan
PM’s cavalcade reached the flyover near Piareana village at around 1:05 p.m., only to be met with a traffic jam caused by buses coming from the opposite direction and protesters blocking the road. They were members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union Krantikari (BKU) and were protesting BJP workers heading for the PM’s rally.
During the PM’s convoy’s stop on the flyover, Punjab Director General of Police, Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, got in touch with senior members of the Government.
According to sources, the DGP was in favor of “using force” to disperse the protesters in order to allow the cavalcade to move, but was told to exercise restraint.
Sources said the DGP was told the police should not do anything which could put the state government in a fix as had “happened during police action against anti-sacrilege protesters at Behbal Kalan after the incident of sacrilege at Bargari in 2015”.
In that incident, police fired shots at a group of protesters blocking a road, killing two protesters.
PM’s cavalcade remained stranded on the bridge for nearly 15 minutes before turning back around 1.20 p.m.
During the PM’s visit, ten Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) and 10 officers of similar rank were on duty.
When contacted by reporters, Ferozepur range DIG Inderbir Singh said that the PM’s convoy was under Moga SSP, “as per the security arrangements made by Additional Director General of Police G Nageswara Rao, who was overall in-charge for PM’s security plan . ,
Inderbir Singh said he went to the protest spot after hearing about it. It was too late for him – he arrived about 15 minutes after the PM’s convoy.
Rao did not respond to calls or a text message.
When contacted, Moga SSP Charanjit Singh Sohal said: “We are looking into it. We had covered 35-40 km. We are looking into what happened on these 5 km.”
State General Secretary of Bhartiya Kisan Union Krantikari (Phul), the group that was staging a dharna on the flyover, Baldev Singh Zira, admitted that the Ferozepur SSP had informed them that the PM and his convoy would take that road.
The farmers believed, however, that this was merely a ruse to get them to disperse and stop protesting.
“We were there to stop the BJP vehicles. Had we known that the PM was actually travelling on this route, our reaction would have been different. After all, he is our PM too,” said Zira who was present at the spot when the incident took place.
The PM’s convoy was cleared as evidenced by video shot by bystanders, which shows a large group of policemen asking protesters to move.
However, Zira is heard saying that the PM has already arrived as per their information.
According to a senior Punjab police officer, the DIG needs to explain how protestors arrived on the road and why police intervened so late.
The state government is responsible for providing security for the PM’s visit, according to a retired Punjab police DGP.
“You have to deploy additional security when you know protesters are there,” he added. “Just telling the farmers to move away since the PM is on his way is a serious lapse. You can’t clear things at such a short notice.”