Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday addressed a public rally in Uttarakhand, where he asked if the Congress party should be forgiven for “serious lapses” in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security when the latter was on a visit to Punjab. Pointing out that the Prime Minister is a key representative of the country, the defence minister said that such lapses in his security have to be considered a serious matter.
“In Punjab, there were lapses in the Prime Minister’s security,” said Rajnath Singh during the ‘Vijay Sankalp Yatra’ in Uttarakhand. “Yet the Congress is talking nonsense. The Prime Minister is a representative of the country; such lapses in his security are a serious matter.”
The defence minister addressed the crowd gathered at the public rally and asked, “I want to ask you whether Congress should be forgiven for this.”
Further pointing out the grave nature of the security lapses, Rajnath Singh said, “The Prime Minister of India is not a person, he is an institution. Everyone should be respectful of this institution.”
“In a democracy, if such an institution becomes weak, it means that the democracy is on the way towards destruction,” he added.
The Punjab government on Thursday formed a two-membered high-level committee to probe the alleged security lapses during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state on Wednesday. According to an official release issued by the Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s office, the panel would comprise Justice (Retd.) Mehtab Singh Gill and Anurag Verma, the principal secretary of home affairs and justice.
A senior official of the Union ministry of home affairs, cited by the ANI news agency, had claimed earlier that despite having prior intelligence inputs about protesters blocking the road during Prime Minister Modi’s visit, the Punjab Police did not follow the ‘Blue Book’ of security protocols.
“This was a major lapse in the security of the Prime Minister,” read a statement issued by the home ministry. “The Prime Minister’s schedule and travel plan were 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 MHA has demanded a detailed report in this regard from intelligence agencies and is seeking details of deployment, picket, rooftop deployment, barricades, and other security measures taken by Punjab Police during the Prime Minister’s visit, the senior official said.