Someone clearly instigated pilgrims to attack me: Pannu

Punjab's “hero” IAS officer,Kahan Singh Pannu,returned to the state on Wednesday after spending 10 days in Uttarakhand where he was spearheading the state’s rescue operations

Written by Chitleen K Sethi | Chandigarh | Updated: April 11, 2014 5:06 pm

Punjab’s “hero” IAS officer,Kahan Singh Pannu,returned to the state on Wednesday after spending 10 days in Uttarakhand where he was spearheading the state’s rescue operations. Pannu was overseeing the rescue nearly 4,000 Sri Hermkunt Sahib pilgrims from Punjab,who were stranded at Gurdwara Gobind Dham since June 15.

Showing no remnants of any strain of the assault by a group of irate pilgrims in Uttarakhand on Monday,Pannu joined his duties at the director general of school education this morning after a meeting with the chief minister.

“Even after the attack,I had tied up my turban within half-an-hour and was back to work,” Pannu told The Indian Express.

Pannu was attacked by a crowd of over 30 men at Gobind Ghat on Monday for allegedly using foul language against the stranded pilgrims and the Sikh gurus.

“There is no question of having abused anyone. I had gone there not just because the Punjab government had assigned me a task but to serve. I did my best.” said Pannu.

Recalling the incident,Pannu said he was taken by surprise by the attackers.

“I was on the road in Gobind Ghat,making arrangements for the 450 stranded pilgrims to be sent to Joshimath. Suddenly,these men accosted me and asked me if I was Kahan Singh Pannu. I said yes and they started pushing and heckling me. I did not know any one of them,I don’t know where they came from or who had send them,but they had come with the sole intention of attacking me. They had been clearly instigated by someone,” he added.

“I kept telling them that I had not abused anyone but they did not listen. I had no option but to apoligise otherwise they would have killed me… Once the crowd left,I went back to making arrangements. I was not disturbed. I thought that the anguish of the stranded pilgrims is much more than any personal attack on me,” said Pannu.

Before reaching Gobind Ghat,Pannu had supervised the evacuation of Gurdwara Gobind Dham. “Over 4,000 pilgrims had been safely sent to Gobind Ghat from Gobind Dham. Most had crossed over Gobind Ghat to Joshimath using a temporary bridge built by the Army. From Joshimath,they were going to Rishikesh,where our buses were stationed,” said the IAS officer.

He added: “The temporary bridge,however,gave away. Now,my first priority was to ensure that the 450 pilgrims,who were left,reach Joshimath as soon as possible as rain was predicted for the coming days. The movement was possible only on helicopters and we had to follow a protocol. The injured and sick first,the old next,women and children and then men. But everyone wanted to go together with their families and this led to resentment among some of the pilgrims.”

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