Modi's security cover paralyses city

  • Usmeet Kaur, Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2015 23:01 IST

Heavy security blanket thrown in and around the city for the high-profile visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday threw the life of a common man completely out of gear in the city.

With the Amritsar police sealing all roads leading to the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh and the Durgiana Temple, the three sites that were on Modi's itinerary, there was traffic jams in various major areas of the city, like on the Queens Road, the bus stand etc.

As Modi was to pass through Gumtala, the Court Road, the Bhandari Bridge and the Hall Bazar to visit the Golden temple, all roads leading to the shrine were sealed and declared a no-vehicle zone.
In the afternoon, Modi landed at the Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport after which he left for the Golden Arrow Ecological Park in Hussainiwala in a helicopter and returned to the holy city in the evening. He then headed to the Golden Temple and visited the Jallianwala Bagh and the Durgiana Temple.
Even as the common man suffered, the political leadership in the city had installed hoardings of self-praise.

"We were frisked even before entering the Golden temple and have never faced so much inconvenience to reach the shrine. In other countries also, the Prime Minister moves, but seldom is such hardship caused to common man. For real security, we need intelligence and not this cover of cops and physical barriers. Modi's security needs to such that least inconvenience is caused to the common man," said Sukhdev Singh, local resident.

Approach roads closed

The approach roads to the golden temple, the Hall Bazaar and the Hathi gate areas were sealed.
So, visitors had to walk a long way and shopkeepers in these areas rued the lost business.

Parminder Singh, a gift-shop owner at the Golden temple plaza, said, "Before Modi reached the golden temple, constables had been on toes and rested outside my shop. Even they seemed exhausted. At the Hall Bazaar, few people were forced to shut down shops and there was a curfew-like atmosphere."

"I took a rickshaw till Hall Bazaar then walked till my shop. For previous VVIP visits like those of former PM Manhoman Singh, the security was not this tight. The level of security for Modi was very high," he added.

Attendance at schools, colleges hit

With local transport being severely curtailed and restricted because of the security, students from school, college and university were unable to reach their institutes and thus missed the sessions, lectures and seminars organised on the martyrdom day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Livelihood lost for a day

Even as the rest of the city rued the chance to go out for a job or education, there were some for whom the PM's visit is likely to have meant sleeping on an empty stomach. Daily wagers, house-hold helps, labourers, vegetable vendors et al led a paralysed life on Monday as they were unable to use the public transport for travelling to their work places and earning their daily bread.

"We waited hours in the morning for our daily bus and also waited to see if an auto-rickshaw would come. However, we returned home after we could not get any mode of transport. The autos going to the city did not take us as their entry was restricted from the Airport Road," said Gursakhi, a helper in a house.

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