image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

PM Modi Security Breach and Dangerous Party Politics

PM Modi was held-up for 15 to 20 minutes on Moga-Ferozepur road in Panjab by a few protestors.

  • BJP and the Congress have clashed in a major political row over the incident.

  • Farmer unions remind us that they were kept waiting outside Delhi in extreme weather conditions for over one year at huge human and economic cost.

  • Some social media fanatics threaten the Sikhs with a repeat of 1984!

According to Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, it was an attempt to find a cheap way to gain public sympathy. Central Government says that there was a security lapse and the Punjab Government says that Prime Minister did not go there because chairs in his rally were empty. Both are only trying to defend themselves. The Prime Minister should not have gone there. To an outside observer, Rikesh Tikait seems to be right.

According to hyped media reports a serious security lapse happened on Wednesday 5 January, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was scheduled to attend a Ferozepur rally, was delayed on a flyover for 15-20 minutes. Any alleged breach in the security of the Indian PM Modi should be taken seriously but above party or communal politics. The National Investigation Agency is involved and under Section 14 of the Special Protection Group Act, 1988, the state government is obligated to help in the security of the Prime Minister.

Apparently, the farmers had planned a protest meeting when they heard about Ferozepur rally. They claim that when they were not allowed to hold the protest they went to the highway. So, why make a political mountain out of a molehill? Such protests should be accepted as a routine community activism to raise issues in any true democracy.

Regrettably, Panjab is centre stage again in dangerous Indian political game playing. There is hysterical reaction by Hindutva fanatics accusing Congress, the Panjab Government and the farmers of engineering the event with murderous intent towards the PM! Sikhs have even been reminded of 1984 with sinister warnings.

The human and economic cost of the farmers protest has been huge. According to the farm unions at least nine farmers died by suicide and there were over 700 deaths, leaving families distraught and in debt.

Contrary to the government claim that big farmers were behind the protest, a study by Punjabi University, Patiala confirmed that those who died were small or landless farmers who constitute the lowest rung of Indian farming community. Their deaths mean that many of the poor farming families are now in debt.

The overall impression gained is that Panjabi farmers who led the just and successful democratic protest by all India farmers against the black farm laws have been identified with the Sikhs by the extreme Hindutva elements. That is due to the egalitarian Sarbat-da-bhalaa seeking Sikh ideology which has been praised and admired globally by all who supported the just cause of the small farmers. All India farmers, farm-dependent business communities and poor Indian minorities at the lowest rungs of the Indian society are with the Sikhs this time. The circumstances are very different from 1984.

Hindutva extremism can be exposed and isolated if the Sikhs continue to be seen as the true friends of the downtrodden people of India.

Gurmukh Singh OBE

Principal Civil Servant Retd