Uttrakhand, India (June 24, 2013): It is learnt that IAS Officer and Director general of school education (DGSE), Punjab, Kahan Singh Pannu, who was reportedly supervising post-flood rescue operations in Uttarakhand, was assaulted by some pilgrims from Punjab on June 23, 2013.
According to some media reports officer Pannu, who had been Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar in recent years, allegedly used ‘derogatory words’ for Sikh Gurus. According to India Express: “… some of the pilgrims alleged that he had used “abusive” language”.
A Punjabi vernacular, Daily Ajit, reported in it’s June 24 edition that security forces had to work hard to save Kahan Singh Pannu. He was reportedly man-handled at Gobind Ghat.
As per media reports the angry pilgrims first raised slogans against officer Pannu and the Punjab government and later assaulted the officer.
“Incidentally, a Punjab police official, attached to Pannu as his PSO, instead of saving him, fled from the scene” Indian Express (IE) has reported.
“Pannu kept insisting that he had not used any abusive words, but the crowd was insistent that he say sorry. They forced him to sit on the ground and apologise…”, IE report reads further.
However, Pannu reportedly tried to downplay the incident saying that 10 days have passed since the first flood struck the region and the survivors were getting impatient to reach home.
A video of the incident has also appeared on YouTube. In this video the crowd could be seen as pressing Pannu to admit that he abused them; but Pannu was constantly denying the allegation. He could be seen as urging people to listen to him.
Pannu was apparently caught up in a situation where there was no one to help him out. At this stage some persons assaulted Pannu, and his turban went off; and people severely manhandles him. The person (unknown) making this video was also attempting to persuade Pannu to admit that he had used abusive language but he denied.
In the presence of personnel of Indian para-military force, who were struggling hard to save Pannu, he was made to sit on ground and apologies.
This issue is dominating the current space of comments/debate on social networking sites, where there is no dominant opinion in this matter.
From the information available so far it is hard to know the exact reason behind the incident, but the way Pannu’s turban was put off in public is saddening.