'Apne CM ko thanks kehna...': PM Modi to officials after security breach during Punjab visit

Returns to Bathinda airport from flyover en route to Ferozepur after protesters block road; Centre seeks report from Channi-led Congress govt for security lapse
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(PTI file photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(PTI file photo)
Updated on Jan 05, 2022 11:20 PM IST
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ByAsian News International

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had to cut short his visit to Ferozepur and return to Bathinda airport on Wednesday afternoon due to a security breach en route, is learnt to have told officials that they should thank their CM that he was able to make it back alive.

Also read: Punjab CM denies lapse in security during PM Modi’s Ferozepur visit

“Apne CM ko thanks kehna, ki mein Bathinda airport tak zinda laut paaya (Say thanks to your CM that I was able to return to Bathinda airport alive),” Modi was quoted by news agency ANI as having told state government officials at the airport before flying back to New Delhi.

Chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, however, denied any security lapse, saying that PM Modi’s decision to take the road route from Bathinda to the martyrs’ memorial at Hussainiwala near Ferozepur was taken at the last moment about which his government was not aware.

The home ministry has taken cognisance of the “serious security lapse” and has sought a detailed report from the state government. The state government has also been asked to fix responsibility for this lapse and take strict action.

The Home Ministry said in a statement that PM Modi landed at Bathinda on Wednesday morning 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 out. The statement said that when the weather did not improve, it was decided that he would visit the National Marytrs Memorial via road, which would take more than two hours. The Prime Minister proceeded to travel by road after necessary confirmation of security arrangements by the Punjab Police chief Sidharth Chattopadhyay.

Around 30 km from the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala, when the Prime Minister’s convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by protesters. The Prime Minister was stuck on the flyover for 15-20 minutes. “This was a major lapse in the security of the Prime Minister. The PM’s schedule and travel plan was communicated well in advance to the Punjab Government. As per procedure, they have to make necessary arrangements for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready,” the statement said.

“Also in view of the contingency plan, the Punjab government has to deploy additional security to secure any movement by road, which was clearly not deployed. After this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda airport,” it added.

BJP chief JP Nadda said, “The state police was instructed to prevent people from attending the rally. A large number of buses were stranded because of the high-handedness of the police and in connivance with the protesters.” Nadda also slammed Channi and said he “refused to get on the phone”.

“To make matters worse, CM 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.

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Monday, January 24, 2022