The British delegation led by their Prime Minister David Cameron came, dictated terms and then left after spending three hours in the holy city on Wednesday, giving the 'Amritsarias' a taste of colonialism.
While no one minded Cameron coming and paying obeisance at the Golden Temple and describing the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy as 'shameful' but many eyes did frown when Indian officials, particularly those in-charge of the security setup chose to obey every order of the English. No questions were asked as the British dictated terms, particularly on issues related to the security of their PM.
The British may be criticised for their haughty behaviour but what was astonishing was the way the Punjab Police officials chose to obey them without bothering about their own self-respect and esteem. Prior to the visit of Cameron, the British had made it clear that they would lay down the ground rules for the visit and these must be followed strictly.
Officials locked up:
While the common man and the devotees coming to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple did face a lot of inconvenience due to the security put in place for the visiting PM, but two officials of the district administration will remember the visit of Cameron for a long time to come. They were no ordinary officials but heads of their respective departments.
The two were at the rice mill, which Cameron visited for inking an MoU for the supply of basmati to England. They were seated in a room inside the mill premises when the British PM arrived. To their utter astonishment, a SP level official came by the room and before they could stand, the official put the latch on the door from outside, leaving the two seated inside.
Confirming the incident, one of the officials told HT here on Friday, “We were taken aback when the door was locked. However we made no attempt to get it opened and only after the PM had left was the door opened by an employee working in the mill.”
This matter was brought to the notice of deputy commissioner Rajat Aggarwal a day later. The matter has also been brought to the notice of a senior police official and efforts are being made to identify the SP who was on duty in the rice mill.
This was not all, a British woman official was irked by the repeated presence of a public relations department official of the Punjab Government at all the place that Cameron visited. She attempted to have this official thrown out from one of the venues but the DC put his foot down. Perhaps this step of the DC was the single instance when a British order met with resistance.
Media was at receiving end
However, the worst treatment the British had reserved for the Indian media. While the British media had a free run, all sorts of restrictions related to their movement were placed on their Indian counterparts.
The restrictions were strictly enforced by the police officials, who went on to the extent of humiliating the local journalists, probably to please the foreigners. When journalists protested the rude behaviour of the cops, their senior officers looked the other way.
One officer chose to justify this unquestionable loyalty towards the British by saying, “They are our guests.”