Chandigarh, September 6: When a king is utterly panicked and terrified in his own state, that is the clear indication that he can’t protect his subjects. Fakhr-e-Qaum Panth Rattan and fifth time Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has himself confessed his worst fears. Badal has approached the government of his friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking still more protection for his family including Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal who is also the Home Minister. The problem is that they are already in the list of the most protected persons in the country having Z plus security cover. As Z plus protectees, they have been provided cover by the central security forces. The security cover is provided on the recommended of the Intelligence Bureau but that is just a formality.
Badals have a ring of big posse of security people with the latest weapons and fingers on the trigger when they go near the people, their own people. Badal is the one leader who used to be known as the man of the masses.
Whenever they move around by road, it is a huge caravan accompanying them with bullet proof high end cars, jammers, ambulances and even fire brigade vehicle. The ordinary mortal has no right to step on the road on which they have to travel. Badal’s official residence is about a kilometer from the civil secretariat where his office is located. Even before his convoy moves out of the gate, entire movement of traffic is stopped and the area in front of the secretariat is cordoned off. It may be mentioned that civil secretariat has the security cover of the Central Industrial Security Force.
This is not all. One battalion of Punjab police commandos is stationed in commando complex at Mohali for the protection of the chief minister, the deputy chief minister and other family members. One floor of the Punjab Kisan Bhavan is permanently occupied by the black cat commandos provided by the centre. Perhaps Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh does not have such strong security cover.
The issue is if they are still terrified, the situation in the state is really serious. That means it is the common person who is the most unsafe as he or she has virtually no protection. The Punjab police are more busy in providing security cover to every Tom, Dick and Harry in the Akali Dal. The misuse of Punjab police was exposed when liquor baron Ponty Chadha was gunned down at his farm house near Delhi. He was having Punjab police security cover. The office bearers of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee who are from the Akali Dal have also been provided heavy security cover by the Punjab police.
Under the Badal government, even the Takht Jathedars have fleets of police gypsies. The office of Akal Takht Jathedar is supposed to be the most venerated. However, he can’t move about without security. The basic issue is as to who is responsible for such a situation. It is Badal who has been ruling the state since 2007 and now he is the ruler who is the most panicky. He has none else to blame for the situation.
His seeking still extra security from the centre calls for certain answers. It is a democratic set up and every citizen has equal right to get protection from the state. The state protection is not for a privileged few.
This is the time for Badal to take people into confidence in case there is perception of revival of militancy in the state. In case such signals are there, then the situation is really serious. Punjab is gateway to Kashmir and hence its strategic importance.
Moreover, you can’t run with the hare and hound with the fix. It is Badal who had eulogized Balwant Singh Rajoana as “Bhai Rajoana”. Rajoana was involved in the conspiracy to kill then chief minister Beant Singh. He was killed by human bomb Dilawar Singh in front of the civil secretariat on August 31, 1995. While Rajoana has been honoured by Akal Takht at “Zinda Shaheed”, Dilawar too was declared a martyr. His ‘martyrdom’ anniversary was observed by the Akali Dal dominated Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee on August 31 last. Rajoana has been sentenced to the gallows and Badal had moved a resolution in the Assembly seeking clemency for him. It was at that time that he had referred to him as Bhai Rajoana. Nothing wrong with it as similar situation has been witnessed in Tamil Nadu also where the issue is the release of those arrested in the case of assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. But none has demanded extra-security cover there.
However, the problem with Punjab is different as Badal wants the security cover of his family to be upgraded to still higher level. The next level can only be that of the army.