Chidambaram’s shoe saga started with mild question

April 7th, 2009 - 4:25 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) There was little indication of the emotive action to follow when Delhi journalist Jarnail Singh asked Home Minister P. Chidambaram a question about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots at a press conference Tuesday.
What ended with a shoe being hurled started with a seemingly innocuous question by the senior Dainik Jagran journalist seated in the front row. Here is how it went:

Jarnail Singh: It has been 25 years since the anti-Sikh riots but the Congress has not done anything. Is it not shameful?

Chidambaram: Please don’t use this as a political platform. Please ask me the question.

Jarnail Singh: Nothing has been done against Jagdish Tytler. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is under the home ministry.

Chidambaram: You are still not asking me the question.

Jarnail Singh: My question is was there any pressure from the home ministry to pressure the CBI to let off Tytler although the agency works independently.

Chidambaram: Neither the home ministry nor any other ministry put any pressure on the CBI. The CBI is only reporting to the court. The court is to decide whether to accept or reject the report. Or they can ask the CBI to further investigate.

Jarnail Singh started to say something…

Chidambaram: Let us be patient, let us wait for the courts to take up the case.

Jarnail Singh again started to say something…

Chidambaram: No arguments please, no arguments.

Jarnail Singh blurted out “I protst!”. He then bent down and took off his white-black-striped sneaker and flung it at Chidambaram, who momentarily had a stunned look before he regained his composure and swerved to avoid the missile.

As Congress workers escorted him away, Chidambaram said: Please take him away… gently, gently.

When an uproar broke out at the crowded press conference, at the party headquarters, Chidambaram tried to silence them saying: Please ask questions. Let not an emotional action of one person hijack the entire press conference.

Later, a reporter asked Chidambaram about the fate of Jarnail Singh and whether he would forgive him.

Chidambaram: Yes, I forgive him.

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