April 7, 2009 / 9:02 AM / 10 years ago

Journalist throws shoe at India's home minister

A journalist throws his shoe at India's Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram during a news conference in New Delhi in this video frame grab from Ani TV released April 7, 2009. REUTERS/ANI TV

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A Sikh journalist threw a shoe at India’s home minister during a news conference on Tuesday after getting angry with the minister’s reply to a question about 1984 riots in which hundreds of Sikhs were killed.

The shoe missed Palaniappan Chidambaram, who leaned back to avoid it. He later smiled and asked security guards to take the reporter out of the room.

“Please take him away, gently, gently, gently, doesn’t matter, please settle down, please settle down,” Chidambaram said as commotion broke out at the press conference.

This was the latest incident of shoe-throwing as a mark of protest against political leaders, including former U.S. President George W. Bush and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Throwing a shoe at someone is considered an insult in India.

The reporter was seen being taken away by plainclothes police who tried to stop him from speaking to reporters. It was not immediately clear if he had been arrested.

The reporter took off one shoe and threw it after the minister began replying to a question about a federal investigation into two leaders from the minister’s Congress party accused of leading rioters against Sikhs in 1984.

The riots in New Delhi, among India’s bloodiest in modern times, were in retaliation against the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Most of those killed were Sikhs.

Writing by Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Paul Tait

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