Amid the ongoing row over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security breach in Punjab, farmers who blocked the road leading to a hold-up of Modi's convoy yesterday said that they had no idea that the PM would be passing that way.
According to a NDTV report, though informed by the police after the farmers started their roadblock, they said they did not believe them. PM Modi, they said, should have just "sent someone and asked us to move".
"We thought the police were trying to remove us from the road. There is a helipad built for the PM that side so why would he come by the road? The police were trying to trick us, we thought," said Baldev Zira, one of the protesters, standing on the Ground Zero on the Moga-Ferozepur highway.
Led by a faction the Bharatiya Kisan Union, the farmers say they were initially on way to the Ferozepur Deputy Commissioner's office to hold a protest. But they were stopped by the police on account of the PM's rally.
Yesterday, while on way to address a political rally in Ferozepur, PM Modi was stuck on a flyover in Punjab's Bathinda for around 20 minutes. Then security lapse has caused a major political conflagration between the BJP and the state's ruling Congress and the matter reached the Supreme Court today. The Punjab government has ordered an inquiry into it.
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"We had no idea at the time that the PM will be coming this way. When the police told us, around 20 minutes after we sat down on the road, we did not believe them," said Mr Zira, who is also a member of the BKU Krantikari farmers' union.
"When we were on our way back, around 3.30 pm, then some people told us," he said. "It is possible that even the police had no advance information, or they would not have allowed us here. They did not allow us to protest anywhere near the rally ground," he added.
The BJP has alleged that the connivance of the state's Congress government, the state police and farmers in what they called endangering the Prime Minister and placing him in "harm's way".
Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind met PM Modi today and received a first-hand account of the incident and expressed concern over the security lapse.
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