A Sikh journalist on Tuesday hurled a shoe at home minister P Chidambaram protesting against CBI’s clean chit to senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler accused in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
The shoe, however, missed its target.
Chidambaram, who was addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi, was surprised when Jarnail Singh, a journalist from Hindi daily Dainik Jagran, flung the shoe and an alert home minister quickly moved away to see it pass by him.
“Please take him away,” said Chidambaram who smiled and later added “gently, gently” as the journalist was escorted out of the press conference hall. Later, he was taken away by police. It is not clear whether any case has been registered against him against the backdrop of Chidambaram saying “I forgive him”.
As the action caused a flutter in the hall, a composed Chidambaram appealed to the reporters, “let not the action of one emotional person hijack the entire press conference. I have answered his questions to the best of my ability.”
It all started with the journalist asking him about the clean chit given by CBI to Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case under pressure from the government.
“First of all let me make it clear that CBI is not under the home ministry. To my knowledge neither the home ministry nor any ministry of the government had put any pressure on the CBI,” Chidambaram said.
“CBI has only given a report to the court. It is for the court to accept or reject or ask for further investigation by CBI. Let us wait for the court decision,” he said.
As the journalist persisted with his questions, Chidambaram told him “no arguments, you are using this forum…” following which the journalist hurled his shoe.
An unapologetic Singh said he will not apologise for his action, though his manner of protest might have been wrong. “My manner of protest might have been wrong, but I did not intend to hurt anyone,” he said.
Asked if he could have used some other manner to protest, he said, “for the last 25 years this has been happening. So what other method is left (to protest)”.
Earlier this month, CBI had given a clean chit to 1984 anti-Sikh riots accused Tytler and sought permission from the court for the closure of the case against the Congress leader.
Police took the journalist into custody ad questioned him. Singh was taken to Tuglaq Road police station from the AICC headquarters where the incident took place.
Jarnail Singh was later released by police after brief detention.
Station house officer of Tughlaq Road Police station Anil Kumar Yadav told reporters that the scribe has been freed for the time being.
“No case has been registered against him. He has regretted about his action,” the official said, adding that the journalist was questioned for his action and then he was released.
After being freed, the Sikh journalist, who has caused a flutter in the political circle, said the issue that he raised was an appropriate issue and the victims should get justice.
This was the latest incident of show-throwing as a mark of protest against political leaders, including former US President George W Bush and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
The Iraqi journalist who shot to worldwide fame for hurling his shoes at Bush last year was jailed for three years. Muntadhar al-Zaidi shocked the world by throwing his shoes at then US president George W Bush in December.
Sitting in the third row at a press conference attended by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the reporter ‘jumped up’ and shouted “It is the farewell kiss, you dog.”