Don’t politicise my shoe attack, pleads Jarnail Singh

April 8th, 2009 - 8:34 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) Journalist Jarnail Singh Wednesday denounced politicians for “trying to take advantage” of his dramatic shoe attack on Home Minister P. Chidambaram and asked political parties to come out with a law against communal violence.
“I am pained that politicians are trying to take advantage of my act,” Singh told IANS, a day after he caused a sensation with the shoe attack to protest the clean chit the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) gave to Congress leader Jagdish Tytler over the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

“Instead of politicising the issue, they (politicians) should announce a law against communal violence,” Singh said in an interview from his south Delhi house. “The draft (of such a legislation) has been prepared but not passed (by parliament).”

Jarnail Singh, who works for the Hindi newspaper Dainik Jagran, made it clear that he had no personal axe to grind although he feels bitter about the lack of justice to Sikhs affected by the 1984 violence that followed the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

More than 3,000 people were killed in New Delhi and other places after two of Indira Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards shot her dead.

“I want to make it very clear that I am not from the Akali (Dal) or affiliated to any political party. I am not joining any political party or echoing any political line,” Singh said.

He said he had no desire to accept any award for what he did Tuesday at the Congress headquarters where Chidambaram addressed reporters. Singh was seated in the front row.

“I very humbly refuse it,” he said of the Rs.200,000 offered to him by the Akali Dal. “It would be better if they help the victims of (the 1984) riots. I refuse to take any reward.”

Even as he was led away by security guards Tuesday, Jarnail Singh had declared that he regretted hurling the shoe at Chidambaram. His family too echoed the sentiment, and thanked Chidambaram for not pressing charges against the journalist.

A day later, Singh said: “I am not a celebrity, it just happened.”

He went on: “I think as a journalist my act was not appropriate. I have nothing personal against Chidambaram. It was a personal outburst which he understood. I was not intending to hurt him.”

Singh, who made headlines nationally for an act compared to a similar attack on then US president George W. Bush, said the incident happened in a “spur of the moment.”

“It was a spur of moment (act). I just lobbed it on his (Chidambaram’s) right side where nobody was seated. I just did it in protest.”

Singh, who became an instant hero to many within the Sikh community, said something must be done so that justice is not denied to the Sikhs.

“I am just talking about an issue. They (Congress) should tell us why justice has not been done (to victims of the 1984 violence).

“Sikhs are a proud community. They have come a long way since 1984. It won’t be sensible if the scar of injustice remains,” he said.

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