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India PM Narendra Modi trapped on Punjab flyover in security breach

PM's convoy on a flyover in Punjab

Image source, ANI

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trapped on a flyover for 20 minutes by protesters in Punjab in what is being reported as a serious security lapse.

They were demanding the resignation of a cabinet minister whose son has been accused over the deaths of farmers.

“This was a major lapse in the security of the PM,” a statement from the federal home ministry said.

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Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said there had been no security lapse on the part of his government.

“We had asked them [Prime Minister’s office] to discontinue the visit due to bad weather and protests. We had no information of [the] sudden change in route. There was no security lapse during the PM’s visit,” Mr Channi told the media on Wednesday.

Mr Modi arrived at Bhatinda airport on Wednesday morning, and was supposed to fly to the National Martyrs’ Memorial and later to the rally in a helicopter.

But the trip was delayed by bad weather, and the convoy finally went by road when visibility did not improve. It got stuck some 30km (18 miles) from the memorial.

Mr Modi was also scheduled to address a rally in the city of Ferozepur, ahead of state elections. But the home ministry said the prime minister’s convoy returned to the airport due to the security lapse.

“I express regret that PM Modi had to return during his visit to Ferozepur. We respect our prime minister,” Mr Channi said.

The home ministry said it has sought a detailed report from Punjab government on the “serious security lapse”.

“As per procedure, they have to make necessary arrangements for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready,” it said.

Mr Channi said his government will inquire into the matter if they found any evidence of a security lapse.

He also said they had convinced some protesting farmers the previous night to end their agitation but others had gathered “suddenly” in Ferozepur.

The protesters were demanding the resignation of junior home minister Ajay Mishra, whose son has been accused in an incident that left eight people dead in October.

A car linked to Mr Mishra had ploughed into protesting farmers in Uttar Pradesh state, killing four men. Farmers alleged that the son, Ashish Mishra, was behind the attack, but the Mishras deny the allegation.

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