A serious lapse: On PM security breach

An improved protocol for the PM’s travel, and a repurposing of the SPG might be necessary

The critical question that is to be probed is who made the decision that the Prime Minister could, and should, travel by road for more than 100 km, from Bathinda to Ferozepur and what inputs went into making that decision. Assuming that someone concluded that it was advisable for the Prime Minister to be on the road for nearly two hours, the process that preceded it must be probed. It was also decided that the Prime Minister should not be using a helicopter as was originally planned. The route was identified in advance as a contingency plan, but the decision to use it was made at the last moment — a version that both the State and Central governments agree on. Various scenarios involving miscommunication, misinformation and misjudgment are possible. Protesters who blocked the route were reportedly unaware of the Prime Minister’s travel. As the Union Home Minister said, accountability must be fixed, and loopholes must be plugged. Considering the mutual distrust the State and the Centre have now public, a Supreme Court-monitored probe could be a good way to get to the bottom of the matter in a credible manner. This episode must also lead to a more efficient protocol for the Prime Minister’s travel, and a repurposing of the SPG, if required. Meanwhile, loose talk, diatribe and electioneering on the issue must be shunned at all cost.

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