Friday, December 1, 2023

Major breach in PM’s security: Are road blockades becoming the new norm?

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On the journey from Bathinda to the Hussainiwala National Martyrs’ Memorial in Ferozepur on Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s car got stuck for 15-20 minutes on a flyover, following which his cavalcade returned to Bathinda airport. Protesters who had blocked the road ahead were mainly to blamed for the exceptional breach of the Prime Minister’s security.

Surjit Singh Phool’s Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Krantikari gang camped on the flyover near village Piareana in the Ghall Khurd tehsil of Ferozepur district with 400-500 demonstrators. Protesters had pitched up camp roughly eight to ten kilometres ahead of where the Prime Minister’s convoy came to a halt on the National Highway. When the demonstrators saw the PM’s motorcade was approaching, they began to advance toward it. Some even got near enough to the vehicle. Fearing an incident with the demonstrators, the PM’s security personnel returned after assessing the situation. The PM’s route was purposely blocked at the government’s request, according to the party.

As per the protestors, the goal of the dharna was to prevent BJP supporters from reaching the site of a planned gathering in Ferozepur, where the Prime Minister was supposed to speak. Due to inclement weather and rain, the rally was eventually cancelled. Union units were also denouncing the PM’s scheduled gathering in their respective district offices.

Apparently, as per sources, the Prime Minister was scheduled to fly from Bathinda Airport, but it was afterwards decided that he would go by car to Hussainiwala. The demonstrators had been warned by Ferozepur’s senior superintendent of police (SSP), Harmandeep Singh, that the PM’s cavalcade would pass along that route. However, the the demonstrators did not believe him, assuming that the police were removing them to allow BJP employees and supporters to attend the gathering.

Many have blamed the tragedy on a failure in security and safety measures by Punjab Police, amid fury and discussion over the PM’s protection. The breakdown in the PM’s security, according to critics, was caused by the Punjab Police’s incompetence. The gathering of protesting farmers, who had previously prevented buses carrying BJP activists from travelling to Modi’s Ferozepur rally, had learned of the Prime Minister’s road path.

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