By Arun Srivastava
Narendra Modi’s cliché on threat to his life has failed to have its magical effect. Modi might have expected that his narrative would ignite peoples’ passion and would force them to hit the streets demanding action against the guilty persons especially the Congress leaders. But nothing as desired by him happened. It simply underlined that common people, baring the BJP cadres and leaders, have refused to subscribe Modi’s rhetoric.
Prime Minister’s security must get top priority. However a closer look at the incident of January 5 makes it explicit that Modi wanted to use the cliché of his endangered security only to garner sympathy among the voters. Modi was deprived of sufficient time to reach out to the voters. For him raising the issue of endangered security and getting the people psychologically enraged at Sikhs was the best machination to polarise the Hindu voters in UP and Punjab.
True enough the FIR in the case which was filed on Saturday makes it crystal clear that that the entire incident was framed. Else there was no rational that the FIR should not mention the name of Modi and his security breach. The SPG has been contemplating to punish DGP and other top police officials of Punjab. But how could it act on the basis of an FIR where intriguingly the name of the victim and reason are not mentioned.
Obviously questions would be asked who was the politician the Punjab police failed to protect; how the Punjab police could be charged of dereliction of duty. If the officials of Punjab police are to be punished, the name of Modi as the victim and reason, security breach ought to feature prominently.
In the FIR the Punjab government has invoked only IPC section 283 which deals with the offences related to “taking a property in the possession or under the charge that causes danger, obstruction or injury to any person in any public way or public line of navigation.”
Obviously Punjab police must not have filed the FIR on its own. It must have the concurrence of the SPG and officials of the MHA. If for the argument sake it is presumed that Punjab police had filed the FIR on its own, then in that case the SPG must clarify how could it allow the Punjab police not to divulge conceal the identity of Modi. There must be some rational for not mentioning the breach of security in the FIR. SPG must come out clean as to why petty nature of case was filed.
In this backdrop the directive of the Supreme Court deserves to be paid serious attention. The three member bench headed by CJI N V Ramana had ordered the Registrar of Punjab and Haryana high court to virtually seize all the documents relating to the episode. Naturally the documents relating to Modi’s discussion with his officials and colleagues and issuing orders sitting inside the car during his 2 and half hour journey would also be seized. Usually the SPG is not under any obligation to hand over its documents to any other organisation. Nevertheless the implications of these actions are more than that meet the eyes. These documents would unravel truth behind what made Modi to speak this language. The directions by a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana came on a day when a Central team investigating the lapse visited Ferozepur, meeting officials responsible for the security arrangements for the PM’s visit on Wednesday.
The FIR makes no mention of PM Modi’s cavalcade being forced to stop because of the presence of political party workers. It is based on the statement of Punjab Police’s DSP Mahendar Bansal, who is linked with Crime Against Women (CAW). The FIR does not hold any farm union responsible for the blockade on January 5. It also did not mention any kind of deliberation of this nature the SPG had with them during last one week while they were in the process of finalising the Modi’s visit to Ferozepur
Farmers have been fighting against the BJP and Modi for ulterior design to “malign” the farming community and Sikhs for the “security lapse” in Ferozepur. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha said: “It is a matter of great regret that to cover up the failure of his rally, the Prime Minister has tried to malign both the state of Punjab and the farmers’ movement by using the pretext of ‘somehow his life was saved’. The SKM suggested Modi not to make such irresponsible statements, keeping in mind the dignity of his post.
The SKM even said: “It is clear from the video of the occasion that the protesting farmers did not even make any effort to go towards the Prime Minister’s convoy. Only a group with the BJP flag and raising the slogan of “Narendra Modi zindabad” had reached near that convoy. Therefore, the threat to the life of the Prime Minister is concocted.” The SKM in a tweet asked; “No stone hit, no bullet fired, no one threatened, so from whom was Modi actually saving his life? “
The blame game must not have erupted giving benefit to Modi, if the Punjab government should not have agreed to allow the SPG to take journey of 100 kms by road. Senior state officials hold that police should not have agreed to the proposal by SPG and other central security agencies that the PM travel over 100 km to the rally spot by road, after he couldn’t fly there due to bad weather.
Experts have termed the breach in security of Narendra Modi as a “classic case of lack of coordination” among agencies but how far this cliché will salvage the image and charisma of Modi is yet to be decrypted. Nevertheless it is certain that this opinion will surely not augur well for the country and especially for the home minister, Amit Shah. The impression that Shah has failed to handle the situation is already making the rounds in the political circle. People nurse the view that the Modi government has miserably failed to ensure a good governance.
Simply saying that state police are fully responsible for ensuring a secure route for the PM’s travel does not absolve SPG of the responsibility. The amendment to the SPG rules makes it responsible for the secure route and the onus cannot be thrust upon the state. The SPG decided to return after Modi’s convoy getting stranded for 15-20 minutes on a flyover due to a blockade by farm protesters. The most interesting aspect of this incident is while the farmers deny that they had assembled to block the road, no official version has come out yet as to how they came to the flyover. Surprisingly a group of BJP workers are seen shouting slogans and waving flags on the site standing by the side of the securitymen. The question arises from where they could come to knon of the programme of Modi? Why they were not kept away?
While move has been initiated to punish officials of Punjab police, no effort is made to seek clarification from the SPG bosses. Medley of the views expressed by the former SPG or IB officials make its explicit that the first breach took place the very moment it was decided to take the PM by road for more than 100 km from Bathinda to Ferozepur as helicopter travel was not possible and the second was taking an elevated route (flyover) which could have been blocked by the protesters on both sides. The coordination between the SPG, intelligence agencies and the state police are the most vital aspects during the PM’s tour. But in Modi’s case the ego problem of SPG dictated the event.
The more Narendra Modi is trying to project himself as the most politically smart politician across the world, the more he is caught in the quagmire of disconcertment. The reactions and comments of even the VVIP people make it explicit that they are convinced that life of Modi was not endangered and he did not face any threat. But none dares to speak out his mind publically.
Since PM’s security is above party politics the moment they question his version of allegation, they would be humiliated, insulted and described as anti national. It cannot be ruled out that some BJP guys, may be even top leader, approach a police officer and file FIR against him for being undignified and working against the interest of the country.
The manner in which the cart of politics has been driven by Modi during his seven years of rule makes it crystal clear that he can go to any extent to mystify the situation. With a subservient media his words and comments always attain the status of gospel truth. This is not for the first time the credibility of ANI news agency has been shattered. In the past too the agency has gone beyond the limit of journalistic ethics in the matter of projecting and protecting Modi. The ANI reporter quoted Modi as having said to an official “zinda wapas aa paya”. But he committed the gravest journalistic mistake by not mentioning about the rank and status of the official. He must have identified the official. He did not mention whether PM summoned him or he accidentally came across Modi? Undeniably the ANI report has added most to the confusion.
Two events that have been taking place aftermath of January 5 fiasco while need to be examined thoroughly these also make the people distrust the narrative of the incident. The BJP leadership has been striving to paint the lapse in Punjab as a conspiracy by the elected government in the state to harm Modi. Usually celebrating Mahamritunjya puja is performed to seek God’s grace to save the life of an individual. The BJP launched this to garner sympathy. The BJP is ready to play religion card. The incident has also exposed the crumbling down of the federal system of governance. (IPA Service)