Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday described as "deplorable in the extreme" the assault on Punjab cadre IAS officer Kahn Singh Pannu in Uttarakhand on Sunday.
Pannu, who is director general school education, was assaulted by a group of Sikh youths at Gobind Ghat, where he was overseeing the rescue operation for pilgrims.
Badal appealed to all to remain calm in this natural calamity. He said, "It is painful that while the officer was engaged in the untiring work of mitigating the sufferings of the victims, some people chose to criminally assault a prominent member of the relief and rescue teams."
Badal expressed surprise that security arrangements for those helping others in fighting against the natural calamity were "pathetically inadequate". He called upon the chief minister of Uttarakhand to deploy adequate security for rescuers.
Bajwa demands judicial probe
Meanwhile, state Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa condemned the attack and demanded a judicial probe into the incident.
Bajwa said the incident seemed a conspiracy. He said it was ironical that a senior IAS officer who was representing the Punjab government in the rescue operations in Uttarakhand was assaulted in the presence of three security guards of Punjab Police and other officials. He said the very fact that someone videographed the assault and loaded it on YouTube pointed to a conspiracy to humiliate Pannu. He said the "shameful" incident was a blot on the face of the SAD-BJP government.
Bajwa said a judicial inquiry should be held to identify those involved.
IAS officers condemn attack
The Punjab IAS Officers Association also condemned the attack. Association president Sarvesh Kaushal, in a statement issued here, said Pannu had said that the attack was unprovoked and pre-meditated, and perhaps the outcome of a conspiracy. Pannu denied having provided any provocation, he added.
According to Pannu, much has been made of his so-called apology, which was only a last-ditch effort to save his life.
The association demanded that the state government take up the matter with the Uttarakhand government for registering a case and entrusting the investigation to a special investigation team after the rescue operations.