The sequence of events and facts related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security breach on Wednesday clearly indicate that the Punjab government and the State police completely failed to provide effective security, said government sources. The Prime Minister’s road journey had been planned following a clearance from the State Director-General of Police (DGP), according to the sources.
The sources said advance security liaison (ASL) meetings were held and intelligence inputs on sabotage possibilities shared, but the State police did not take necessary measures and also did not adhere to the Special Protection Group's (SPG) Blue Book guidelines on the Prime Minister's security.
Stating that the overall responsibility for ensuring the Prime Minister's safety was with the State government under the Blue Book's Chapter 1, Rule 1, the sources said the duty of providing proximate security rested with the SPG. Its Chapter 1, Rule 2, stated that the State police would make all the protective arrangements, while Chapter 1, Rule 5, provided that the State DGP was responsible for implementing these rules.
The ASLs for Mr. Modi's visit were conducted by the SPG along with the Punjab administration and the police on January 1 and 2. During the meetings, a contingency plan for road journey from Bathinda to Ferozepur was discussed in detail. Therefore, a route survey for the identification of vulnerable points was to be carried out to secure them with strong police deployment.
In view of the intelligence inputs, a strong police deployment was emphasised in the ASL report. The contingency rehearsal for the road journey from Bathinda to Ferozepur was also carried out on January 4.
Stating that the Punjab police was aware of the security threat to the Prime Minister, the sources said the State police’s internal documents showed multiple communications about securing the roads for his visit and journey. They mentioned about making the traffic diversion plan in advance as any “dharna” might result in road blockage. The communications also mentioned the need for keeping a watch on the movement of farmers and not allowing the protesters to move to Ferozepur for disrupting the Prime Minister’s rally.
Explaining the sequence of events, the sources said when helicopter journey from Bathinda was not possible, the SPG Director discussed with the Punjab DGP about the possibility of undertaking a safe and secure road journey from Bathinda to Ferozepur. After a clearance from the police chief, the road journey was planned. Senior SPG officers had multiple conversations with the DGP in this regard.
The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Bathinda, piloted the motorcade from Bathinda to the Ferozepur district border and the SSP concerned piloted it from the Ferozepur district border. As per the Blue Book, a car for the Chief Secretary and the DGP was ear-marked, but none of them joined the motorcade.
According to the sources, the State’s police control room failed to inform the pilot of the motorcade about “some so-called protesters” on the Prime Minister’s route.
“Even if timely information about the blockade was relayed to the PM’s motorcade by the police control room, the situation of getting stuck on a flyover could have been averted. As a result of no information, PM’s car reached very near to the so-called protesters,” said an official.
All along the route, there was skeletal police deployment. The policemen, including the senior officers, at the site where the cavalcade got stuck were found to be very inactive. There was no visible effort by them to clear the blockade. The number of people gathering there had started increasing rapidly, the sources added.