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Jarnail’s way of protest was not right

Jarnail Singh’s protest (editorial, “Pen mightier than shoe”, April 9) was valid but the means were wrong. Whether it is Delhi riots or Gujarat riots, politicians involved in instigating rioters and anti-social elements go scot-free. Jarnail Singh’s protest was probably influenced by similar incidents like the one involving US President George W Bush and another in which Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was similarly targeted.

Such protests are certainly meant to indicate utter contempt for the target but journalists are meant to embarrass targets by the power of their pen, not their footwear. Jarnail Singh’s protest has definitely let down his profession. Unfortunately the Shiromani Akali Dal added to the absurdity by offering him Rs 2,00,000 for expressing the pent-up anger of the Sikh community. I feel such gestures of reward pervert the parameters of political argument. Glamorising men who momentarily lose their cool is wrong.


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It was sad to see that a journalist had to resort to such an inglorious act. Sadder still is the response of political parties trying to cash in on this episode. One party has even offered him a ticket for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. What a cheap way of politicising a situation?

Most readers would agree that Jarnail Singh’s way of expressing protest was wrong. It was a sudden impulse and he could not control his emotions and used this unacceptable mode of protest. The editorial has rightly pointed out that he should have used his pen instead.



Threatening someone with a shoe or throwing a shoe at another human being, is, perhaps, the ultimate insult in almost all the cultures around the world. Jarnail Singh, the journalist of a vernacular daily, seems to have suffered from a temporary loss of sanity as he hurled his shoe at the Union Home Minister Mr P Chidambaram. The minister, however, deserves compliments for not losing his cool.

In any case, the incident reminds us all that the Sikh community as well as the right thinking people among the general public have not yet forgotten the 1984 riots that shook the nation in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

DR M K BAJAJ, Zirakpur


Without any doubt, the 1984 riots were a national shame. Many people are still carrying the wounds of the riots. But one is unable to understand why political parties raise a hue and cry during the time of elections alone. Still, it was shocking the way journalist Jarnail Singh hurled his shoe at the Home Minister.

There have been similar incidents, more recently, the one involving the US President, Mr George W Bush. But this type of protest must be discouraged. To heal the wounds of the Sikh community, all those who are involved in the 1984 riots must be brought to book. A thorough re-investigation must be undertaken.



The incident highlighted the anger of the common people. But this act cannot be justified. Still, our politicians should understand that the common man is not supposed to wait for justice forever. Persons like Mr Jagdish Tytler, Mr Sajjan Kumar and Mr Narendra Modi are roaming free. The political parties by and large use the communal card to garner votes.

We have so many problems like poverty, corruption, terrorism, economic slowdown and population growth but many politicians use religion and caste to win votes. Voters alone can teach them a lesson. As an Indian, one feels frustrated when these politicians mislead us and go scot-free.

AMIT SARIN, Amritsar

Veterans deserve better

Does the public (“Agitations by military veterans” by retired Vice-Admiral Premvir Das, April 1) know that an old Naib Subedar, a Junior Commissioned Officer with enormous responsibilities, gets less pension than a new peon? Or an old sepoy gets 82 per cent less pension than a post 2006 sepoy retiree.

Rules, whether for precedence or pension are changed arbitrarily. For instance up to the 2nd Pay Commission there used to be service pension that not only ensured “one rank, one pension” but was substantially higher.

Departments like the Railways and the BSNL enjoy far more facilities. The pathetic state of the ex-servicemen, especially in the rural areas, is the reason why youth do not care to join the Army. Welfare of the veterans is on the concurrent list with neither the Centre nor the states fulfilling their obligations. One should compare their welfare with those in major democracies like the US, the UK, Germany and France.

Having exhausted all other means, the veterans are forced to agitate in a dignified and disciplined manner. They have caused no inconvenience or burnt public property.




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