Minister for rural development and panchayats Sikander Singh Maluka was manhandled by an elderly man at Hamirgarh village in this district on Friday.
However, the police intervened and got hold of Jarnail Singh (65), who was later allegedly thrashed by Akali workers and police personnel. The police are tightlipped over his condition.
The incident took place around 5pm when Maluka, along with his supporters, was touring villages to mobilise people for the Sadbhawna rally at Bathinda on November 23.
According to information, Maluka’s turban was dislocated slightly as Jarnail pushed Maluka when he was going to the stage to address people. “We have taken him into custody and started investigation about the motive behind the move,” said SSP Swapan Sharma.
Jarnail was reportedly upset over the recent sacrilege incidents in the state and had also participated in the protest by Sikh organisations at Kotkapura on October 14.
The SSP said Jarnail tried to push the minister, who took an evasive action and jumped to the other side, during which his turban was dislocated slightly.
“He was overpowered by the villagers and taken out of the venue before handing him to police,” the SSP claimed. Following the incident, the police cordoned off the village.
A visibly upset Maluka addressed the gathering in haste and left the village to address another public meeting at his ancestral Maluka village.
When contacted, Maluka claimed that the assailant was a Congress worker and the attack was aimed at him but he escaped unhurt. “The assailant is an elderly man who might be mentally unstable,” Maluka said.
He said SAD workers told him that the assailant was keen to join the Akali Dal; besides, he had been appealing to people to attend his public meeting. “He had been talking to people about my visit to the village for some time,” Maluka said, adding that the assailant had even helped organisers make arrangements for the meeting.
Maluka said he would not complain against the assailant.
On November 17, Akali workers had overpowered farmers who had disrupted Maluka’s meeting at Khokhar village.