Justifying the shoe attack by a Sikh journalist on Home Minister P Chidambaram, former Akal Takht jathedar and Sikh scholar Darshan Ragi has said the only way to satisfy the Sikh community is to punish the guilty of the 1984 riots.
"I justify the journalist's anger when the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) under the home minister gives a clean chit to Jagdish Tytler. Was there ever any doubt about the role of Tytler and Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 riots?" the usually soft-spoken and calm Sikh cleric said in an interview.
The Toronto-based Ragi said: "By giving tickets to these two men, the government (Congress) has shown that it doesn't care about the feelings of the Sikh community. Tytler and Kumar should have been banned from public life and put in the dock for their crime.
"When you apply for a job, the employer checks your background to know that you have not committed any crime. But here the Congress is rewarding Tytler and Kumar for their hand in the riots.
"Action breeds reaction. I think the journalist was justified in his reaction," Ragi stated.
However, another prominent Sikh leader didn't agree with the method used by the journalist to express his anger.
"The (journalist's) method to express his anger was wrong. As a Sikh I am also angry for denial of justice to the 1984 riot victims, but you have to express your anger in a constructive way. His anger is justified for the clean chit the CBI has given to Tytler and Kumar," said Nachhattar Singh Chohan who is related to the late Khalistan protagonist Jagjit Singh Chohan.
He took Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Akali leaders to task for announcing awards for the journalist for his 'bravery'.
"Sikh leaders have become adept at cashing in on these issues to further their ends. They have not learnt anything from the past and they are encouraging the Sikh youth to take the wrong path," he said.
Posing a question to the SGPC and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Chohan asked: "What have they done for the riot victims? These poor people are rotting. What have they done for the 1984 army deserters whom they hailed as heroes? They are still languishing in jails."
Another Toronto-based Sikh leader, who didn't want to be identified, said: "The Congress may have made Manmohan Singh India's prime minister, but it is still persisting with its old policies vis-à-vis the Sikh community.
"The shoe-throwing incident is the symptom of the Sikhs' pent-up grievances against the Congress. But these individual cases won't help them get justice. They have to raise their collective voice."