Some 25 years after the community was targeted with extreme violence in a bloody riot spread across days and over the country, anger among the justice-seeking Sikhs spilled over across Punjab on Wednesday, after years of quiet the issue recently came back into public memory owing to a last straw inclusion of allegation-hit partymen on its list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections by the Congress.
Sikh protestors took to streets in Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Beas, Patiala and Sangrur towns rail traffic is also reported to have been obstructed in several parts of the state.
The present controversy erupted after the Central Bureau of Investigation gave a ‘clean chit’ to Congress leaders – Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar – who have faced allegations of inciting murderous mobs to target the community in the aftermath of the assassination of then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi
The following days saw Delhi – the national capital – plummet to its lowest ebb in history, as rioters indulged in arson, loot and murder with impunity, areas in the Delhi Cantt and trans-Yamuna in the eastern part of the city were the worst effected apart from the predominantly Sikh bastions in Tilak Nagar.
The violence later subsided after several areas were placed under curfew and the army staged flag marches across the city.
The carnage left the Sikhs with a rage that simmered to a boil on Tuesday when a journalist belonging to the community hurled a shoe at Home Minister P. Chidambaram for refusing to respond to his queries over the ‘clean chit’ given to Tytler.
Taking the journalist’s action as a pointer towards the rage simmering in the minority Sikhs, the Congress party is now reported to be in a huddle to take a final call on Tytler’s candidature.
IBNLive citing sources says the party is a divided house and a crucial meeting supposed to be held on Wednesday evening may decide Tytler ‘s future in the polls.
Reacting to the shoe-throwing incident Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal on Tuesday said that the incident should serve as an “eye-opener” for the community.
“This pain and angst is not confined merely to the Sikh community but is shared by all the right-thinking people in the country and all over the world,” he added, before launching a broadside against the Congress.
While admitting that the method adopted by Jarnail Singh was questionable, Badal said that the action of a liberal Sikh with no political or fundamentalist leanings was unmistakable in “the sanctity of his pain and the justness of his cause.”