Shoe-throwing scribe honoured by Sikhs in Canada

New Delhi : Jarnail Singh, the Sikh journalist who hurled his shoe at Home Minister P. Chidambaram at a press conference to protest the injustice meted out to the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, has been conferred an award by the community in Cananda.

Set to release his book “I Accused…” on the anti-Sikh riots, Singh has been making appearances in various gatherings after being asked to resign from Dainik Jagran, the Hindi daily he worked for.

Recently, he was in Canada where he was awarded the “Lion of Delhi” award at the Spinning Wheels film festival, where films related to Sikhs are screened.

“I have been called to lots of gatherings. I led a candlelight vigil at Vancouver, on the 25th anniversary of the anti-Sikh riots. I have been speaking to many people across the country, in Indore, Ludhiana, Saharanpur and Delhi to boost the quest for justice for the victims,” Singh told IANS.

Categorically denying an intention to join any political party, Singh maintains that his aim was to shame the perpetrators of the 1984 pogrom.

“My book will shame those culprits. Politically they have been punished for their crimes but there should not be any let up in the cases against them. If moral pressure increases, the cases may be taken to their logical conclusion.

“My aim is to create a positive environment for the trials. If media covers the issue, the witnesses may come forward to speak, they may get protection,” Singh said.

He said the past few months have been painful, without any livelihood, and he has been going to meet the victims and witnesses of the 1984 carnage.

He says that his action of throwing a shoe at Chidambaram was wrong, but the issue was important.

Dissatisfied with Chidambaram’s response over the Central Bureau of Investigation’s clean chit to Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, Singh had hurled a shoe at the minister during a press conference here on April 7, 2009.

Immediately after the incident, Singh told IANS: “I just wanted to ask (Chidambaram) how he can be happy when one whole community is in deep anguish… I do not think it (what I did) is the right way but the issue (1984 Sikh riots) is right.”

The incident sparked widespread protests by the Sikh community against Congress, costing Tytler and Kumar their election tickets. While Chidambaram refused to file a case against Singh, Dainik Jagran asked him to resign.

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