Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged security breach in Punjab was discussed by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Thursday, while President Ram Nath Kovind expressed concern over the incident.
The row over the security lapse has also reached the Supreme Court, with the matter likely to be heard tomorrow.
The Charanjit Singh Channi government in Punjab has, meanwhile, set up a team to investigate the incident and file a report in three days.
On Wednesday, the PM, after landing at Bathinda airport, was heading to a memorial in Hussainiwala when a road he took was blocked by some protesters. This forced his convoy to spend 15-20 minutes on a flyover.
The BJP, security experts and former senior police officers have termed the alleged security lapse a dangerous precedent, with both the Union government and the BJP pointing to lapses by the Punjab police and the state government, and alleging that dirty politics was at play.
The PM met the President and gave him a first-hand account of the security breach, the Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Thursday. Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu also spoke to Modi about the incident and expressed deep concern.
“Today’s Congress-made happening in Punjab is a trailer of how this party thinks and functions. Repeated rejections by the people have taken them to the path of insanity,” Union home minister Amit Shah had tweeted a day ago. His ministry also criticised the Punjab Police for failing to prepare a contingency route for the PM’s visit.
Union minister Smriti Irani asked if information about the PM’s route was leaked. “The Congress hates him, now they want to harm him,” she said.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala pointed out that elaborate arrangements had been made for the PM but the route he was on was not part of the original schedule.
Punjab CM Channi expressed regret over the incident but rejected the BJP’s charges.
“There was no prior information. I worked till 3 am to convince farmers to clear all routes. All roads were cleared by Wednesday morning. Had they told us about the road travel in advance, we would have made proper arrangements,” Channi told a press conference on Wednesday.
“As a Punjabi, I would die to protect you (the PM)… but there was no danger to his life. There was no security breach,” the CM stressed.
A petition in the SC wants the Punjab Chief Secretary and Director-General of Police to be held responsible and suspended.