A Sikh journo shot to headlines today, after he audaciously hurled a shoe at the Home Minister P Chidambaram. It was like a sequel to the Bush shoe drama carried out by an Iraqi journo Muntadhar al-Zaidi of Al-Baghdadiya television – an Iraqi-owned station, who shocked the world by flinging a shoe at the then US President George W Bush, at a press conference in the presence of the Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki.
That thoughtless action by an Iraqi journo, cost him high. On March 12, 2009, al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting a foreign head of state during an official visit.
But what has happened today is indeed yet another display of dirty politics, so typical of Indian politics. Come election and you are spared for any crime you do, if you are from a minority community.
Jarnail Singh, a journo from a Dainik Jagaran, was exonerated, immediately after he dreaded to hurl a shoe at the Home minister of India. Indeed unbelievable!
Two things that left me flabbergasted were: Firstly, a close observation of the video footage showing the shoe throwing episode reveals beyond doubt that the shoe was not thrown at Chidambaram. In fact it was just passed over to him. Secondly, how come the journo escape detention after carrying out such a task.
Jarnail Singh claimed that Chidambaram declined to answer his questions related to the ’84 sikh riots and that angered him beyond limits. He went on to say that his action was not right, but the issue that he raised was absolutely right. So he even declined to apologise. Yet he was let off!
What is the reason? None of us really knows. Based on my presumption, I can just say, this might be yet another political arithmetic. Detaining a Sikh just before the Lok Sabha polls, and at a juncture when the entire Sikh community is fuming over CBI clean chit to Jagdish Tytler, would mean loss of a potential vote bank for the Congress.
Interestingly, the manner the shoe was hurled at Chidambaram, also implies that the entire episode could be a dramatised version, carrying an interesting political storyline, not known to the common public.
Besides all this, what was more shocking than the journo’s act, was Akali Dal’s announcement of a reward of Rs 2 lakh to Jarnail Singh for the heroic deed. Avtar Singh Hit, national general secretary of Shiromani Akali Dal, went to the extent of comparing him to Bhagat Singh who threw a bomb in Lahore Assembly.
Politicising literally “everything” is what Indian politics is all about. This is yet another incident to count. But this time sadly, it’s a journalist who is playing the protagonist.