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Prime Minister Narendra Modi had wanted to visit Punjab to the foundations of numerous developmental projects. These included the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway; the project of creation of four lanes for the Amritsar-Una section and the Mukerian-Talwara New Broad Gauge Railway line. The PM was, also, supposed to lay the foundation stone for Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research’s satellite centre at Firozpur. On Wednesday, he had tweeted that he looks forward to being amongst his brothers and sisters of Punjab.
Punjab is about to have elections in the near future. This was PM Modi’s first visit to the state after the government had repealed the farm laws. The rally that he was supposed to address was to kickstart BJP’s poll campaign in Punjab. Currently, the Aam Aadmi Party is being considered as the main opponent of the current ruling party in Punjab, Congress.
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While the PM’s convoy was on its way to the rally at Firozpur, when it was 30kms from the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainwala, it was found out that the road is blocked by some protestors. Later on, the Home Ministry released a statement saying, “The PM was stuck on the flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of the PM. .... after this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda airport.” From there he flew back to Delhi.
PM Modi’s first visit to the state after he was forced to repeal the farm laws.Wikipedia
The statement from the Union Home Ministry termed the incident as a “security breach” and that the Punjab Government was responsible. There were several comments on the incident while some were of the thought that “The serious breach in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security in Punjab on Wednesday represents the lowest phase in Indian politics. It is a clear sign of the desperation of the Congress and the level of animosity against the elected Prime Minister of the country.” While other varied, saying that the visit was called off because of a fear of low turnout at the rally.
On the same day when this incident took place, the Kisan Ekta Morcha, which was the official handle of the farmers’ movement, tweeted under the hashtag “Go Back Modi” : “Let’s make it very clear. This is because of huge protest by farmers and people of Punjab that Modi had to cancel his event. There were very few people in the rally ground. Most of them were forced to attend. The rally is cancelled due to negative response by Punjabis.”
According to him, “There was no risk to the Prime Minister." LOGAN WEAVER / Unsplash
A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli said: “We deem it appropriate for the time being to direct the Registrar General, Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and preserve the records relating to the Prime Minister's scheduled tour of Punjab on January 5, 2022... We direct the Director General of Police, Union Territory of Chandigarh and an officer of the National Investigation Agency, not below the rank of Inspector General, to be nominated by the Director General, National Investigation Agency, to assist the Registrar General, Punjab and Haryana High Court to forthwith secure and seize the records from the State police as well as Central agencies.”
On the Friday, 07 January 2022, several BJP MPs protested against the security breach of PM Narendra Modi’s convoy in Punjab. They gathered near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament complex. The MPs accused Punjab government and the senior Congress leaders for “conspiring to kill the Prime Minister”. The Punjab Chief Minister, on the other hand, said, “There was no risk to the Prime Minister. .... He is our Prime Minister. If there were a threat to his life, I would shed my blood before his (could be shed). This is how Punjabis are.”
It was found out that the road had been blocked by some protestors. Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash
Such a security breach of the Indian Prime Minister is of a rare nature. Such incidents in the past, when happened have led to severe consequences. How the incident took place had been different but there had been a loop hole in the security of the Prime Minister. The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi had taken place because of such a security breach. A suicide bomber wearing an RDX explosive-laden belt under her clothes had been able to reach Rajiv Gandhi, which caused his death.
(Keywords : Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, security, breach, Punjab, India, development, elections, farm laws, campaign, protestors, convoy, Home Ministry, government, politics, animosity, farmers, people, Parliament.)
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A little more than a year after they were passed followed by widespread agitation by farmers declining to accept them, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced that the Centre has decided to repeal the three farm laws.
Coinciding with the auspicious occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti, Modi also announced that the constitutional process to repeal the laws would be taken up in the winter session of Parliament that begins on November 29 and appealed to the agitating farmers to withdraw their agitation and go back to their homes.
"It seems some of the farmers are still not convinced by our sincere efforts. We have decided to repeal the three farm laws. The constitutional process to repeal these laws would be completed during the Parliament Session that would start at the end of this month," Modi said, adding an apology in his address to the nation.
Modi also announced to form a committee comprising representatives of the Centre, state governments, farmers, agriculture scientists and agriculture economists to discuss how Minimum Support Price (MSP) can be made more effective, how zero budget farming can be promoted and how crop patterns can be changed in a scientific manner.
After they were passed in the monsoon session of Parliament, the President had given his assent to the three Farm Bills on September 27, 2020. The three Bills were Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Ahead of these becoming laws and soon after that, farmers across the platforms had embarked on agitation, some of them peaceful, some resulting in damage to the government property, including the riotous agitation at the Red Fort on January 26 earlier this year, and also including the loss of lives of more than 600 farmers at various places during the agitation.
Hundreds of these farmers -- most of them from western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha -- have been camping at various entry points to Delhi. They were not buying the Centre's argument that the three farm laws would bring in reforms in the agriculture sector and basically remove the intermediaries, because of which the small farmers will benefit.
After the farmers' agitation erupted, the Supreme Court had earlier in January 2021 stayed the three farm laws and appointed a committee, which had submitted its report, which is not yet made public.
The Prime Minister started his address, saying that the government's intention was pure, and it had brought the three farm laws hoping to benefit the farmers, especially the small land holding farmers. "Despite our efforts, despite efforts by agriculture economists and agriculture scientists, we failed to convince a section of the farmers about the sincerity of our efforts," he said.
"The objective of the three farm laws was that the farmers of the country, especially small land holding farmers should be strengthened, they should get right price for their produce and maximum options to sell the produce," he said.
He also listed a number of steps that have been taken by his government for farmers' benefits, including an increase in MSP and record procurement this year. "Beej, Beema, Bazar and Bachat (seeds, insurance, market availability and savings) are what we tried to bring for the small land holding farmers, many of whom supported our efforts. I am grateful to them," he said.
Rakesh Tikait of the Bharat Kisan Union (BKU), a prominent leader of the farmers' agitation, said, "Our agitation will not end soon. We will wait till the laws are repealed in the Parliament. We demand that the government discuss MSP and other issues with the farmers."
In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi said: "Congratulations its win against the injustice, the farmers of the nation have compelled the arrogant govt to bend down through satyagraha."
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took to twitter to express solidarity with the farmers. "First, bulldoze laws in Parliament. Then face unprecedented protests. Thereafter, confront election realities in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, particularly. Finally, after much appeal, repeal. Kisan-ity prevails at last! I salute the tenacity of our kisans who did not give up," he said.
Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too lauded the step and tweeted: "Great news! Thankful to PM Narendra Modi ji for acceding to the demands of every Punjabi & repealing the 3 black laws on the pious occasion of #GuruNanakJayanti. I am sure the central government will continue to work in tandem for the development of Kisan!" (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Farm Laws, India, Farmers, Gurupurab, Narendra Modi, Protests.