Shoe-throwing scribe to release book on anti-Sikh riots

New Delhi : Jarnail Singh, the Sikh journalist who created headlines for throwing a shoe at Home Minister P. Chidambaram for the injustice committed towards the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, has written a book on the riots.

The book – to be released here Friday – is titled “I Accuse…” in English and “Kab Kategi Chaurasi” (When will 1984 pass) in Hindi. It is being published by Penguin.

“With this book I have unearthed the conspiracy behind the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, as to how it was a state-sponsored massacre. It has the untold stories of how the victims and their families have spent the last 25 years,” Singh told IANS.

The book starts with 11-year-old Singh witnessing the brutal killing of fellow Sikhs firsthand, though his immediate family remained unhurt.

Jarnail Singh was playing cricket outside his house at Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi when the looting and killing started after former prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.

Now a father of two, Singh has been with various newspapers for the last 15 years, beginning with a six-month internship with Sandhya Times in 1995. Then he found himself freelancing for some time before he joined a multilingual daily called Aksharbharati which has since ceased publication. He was with the Hindi daily Dainik Jagaran since 1999 and was a special correspondent, mainly covering the defence ministry.

“The book ends with why I was prompted to throw a shoe (at Chidambaram),” said Singh.

Dissatisfied with Chidambaram’s response over the Central Bureau of Investigation’s clean chit to Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, Singh hurled a shoe at the home 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, the paper where he was employed, asked him to resign.

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