Badal, IAS body slam assault on Punjab officer in Uttarakhand

Chandigarh–The assault on Punjab-cadre IAS officer Kahan Singh Pannu by a group of agitated pilgrims from Punjab at Govind Ghat in Uttarakhand has been deplored by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and an IAS officers association.

Badal called up his Uttarakhand counterpart Vijay Bahuguna and demanded adequate security for Punjab officers supervising rescue and relief operations in calamity-hit Uttarakhand.

Badal expressed surprise “that security arrangements for those helping others in fighting against the natural calamity were so pathetically inadequate”.

Pannu was assaulted Monday by a group of stranded pilgrims in Govind Ghat in Uttarakhand following an argument over shifting the pilgrims to another place.

Pannu was chased, slapped, punched and beaten with shoes and even a broom. The entire incident was video-graphed by a person and uploaded on the Internet.

In a statement here Tuesday, Badal described the incident as “deplorable” and a “great disservice to the cause of relief and rehabilitation for which the officers are working at considerable hardship and risk to their lives”.

In an appeal, Badal said: “Everyone should keep their calm and composure in the hour of this grave natural calamity. We must battle this unitedly, keeping our calm…”

“Making the relief and rehabilitation workers themselves the target of such inhuman assault is totally unacceptable,” Badal said.

The Punjab Indian Admnistrative Service (IAS) officers Association strongly condemned the “brutal attack” on Pannu.

“This dastardly attack on an IAS officer has raised a number of issues which require to be addressed on priority. First, the criminals must not go unpunished. The association demands that our state government should take up the matter with the Uttarakhand government for lodging an FIR…,” it said.

“Secondly, if the roots of any conspiracy exist in Punjab, the association demands that our state government should direct the police chief to get the matter thoroughly investigated and the law should take its right course,” the association said.

It demanded that if teams were sent for rescue and relief operations in other states, they should be accompanied by adequate police protection.

Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa demanded a judicial probe into the assault on Pannu.

However, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, while condemning the incident, rejected the judicial probe demand saying that the Congress leader was resorting to “gimmicks”.–IANS