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Police focus on removing video, identifying culprits

chandigarh Updated: Jun 28, 2013 01:00 IST
Pawan Sharma
Pawan Sharma
Hindustan Times
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The video clip of Sikh pilgrims' assaulting Punjab-cadre IAS officer Kahan Singh Pannu at Gobind Ghat during the flood-rescue operations in Uttarakhand will be removed from all online portals, including YouTube.

Punjab Police on Thursday urged the functionaries of YouTube formally to remove the nine-minute clip in which Pannu is being thrashed by a group including two baptised Sikhs. The footage has become a source of anguish to not only the senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer but also Sikhs within and outside India and should be removed to avoid further damage to their sentiments, the state police have stated in the request.

After additional director general of police (law and order) Dinkar Gupta took up the matter with YouTube, the portal has promised positive action. Police also informed the portal's team about Pannu's good work in the rescue and relief operations and told it that the attack had been unprovoked.

On Thursday, the polic focus was on getting the video off all online portals and social-networking websites such as Facebook. "Most of these portals are outside the country. We are slowly but swiftly removing the clip from every site," said a police source.

No FIR lodged
Contrary to reports, the police in neither Punjab nor Uttarakhand had till Thursday evening registered any first-information report (FIR) about the assault on Pannu, in the absence of a formal complaint from anyone.

Vijay Joshi, senior superintendent of police (SSP) in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district that includes Gobind Ghat, said over telephone that his team was ready to register an FIR, provided someone moved an application. "We need at least a fax… or anybody, driver, gunman or officer, who is a witness from the spot, to send us the complaint," said Joshi.

Similar is the stance of Punjab Police, which have not registered any FIR specifically about the assault. "We need a complaint, which the IAS officer may not like to submit," a police source said. Pannu was unavailable for comments.

SIT at work
Punjab's special investigation team (SIT) is trying to identify of the attackers from the footage. Deputy inspector general (DIG) Gautam Cheema is doing inquiries at Joshimath and Gobind Ghat.

Case under 66-A likely

Punjab Police are considering registering the case under Section 66-A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, which provides for punishment for sending offensive messages via communication services , computer resources or communication devices. The imprisonment to the culprit under this law may extend to three years and there's also a provision of fine.