The Kerala Director General of Police objected to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kollam within hours of the explosion at a temple during a fireworks display Sunday that left over 100 dead and nearly 400 injured.
DGP T P Senkumar told The Indian Express on Thursday that the entire police department was busy in rescue and relief work and the visits by Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi meant that they had to ensure their “safety and security” as well.
“I did object to the idea of the Prime Minister visiting the region within 12 hours of the accident. I told them it would be better for the PM to visit the spot a day after the disaster. But the PM wanted to visit that day itself. Our entire force had been working from early morning, engaged in rescue and relief work. So much work was still left and all of them were tired because there was no provision of even drinking water. We had to make arrangements for the safety and security of Prime Minister Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi too,” he said.
Asked who from the Prime Minister’s Office had contacted him, Senkumar said it was the SPG who spoke to him. “During usual visits, a standard protocol is followed and the intimation goes through the secretary concerned and the government. As this was an emergency situation, I understand that the PM spoke to the Chief Minister whose office informed me about the visit and said the SPG would call me.”
“I was also there at the spot. It was a day when we were all totally held up in the massive rescue and relief work. So I explained the situation and suggested that he visit on Monday. Anyway, once the Prime Minister decides to visit, we have no choice other than make arrangements for his security,” he said.
In his report to the Kerala Home Secretary on Thursday, Senkumar blamed the Kollam district administration for the temple disaster. His report stated that the civil administration was absent in extending support during rescue and relief work.
“When our men were on the verge of collapse, no arrangement had been made to supply them even drinking water. The district administration was absent during these stages,” he said.
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