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MUST WATCH: Politicians who faced shoe missiles

Last updated on: April 27, 2011 08:33 IST

Politicians who faced shoe missiles

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Former Commonwealth Games organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi on Tuesday became the latest victim of a shoe missile, when a man hurled a slipper at him in the Patiala House Court complex in New Delhi.

Hurling shoes seems to have become the most popular form of protest against corrupt, inefficient or tyrannical political leaders.

Rediff.com takes a look at politicians who have enjoyed some shoe therapy over the years.



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P Chidambaram

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Home Minister P Chidambaram, while addressing a press conference in Delhi in April 2009, was surprised when Jarnail Singh, a journalist from a Hindi daily, flung a shoe at him.

Singh was apparently upset over Congress leader Jagdish Tytler being given a clean chit over his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Singh was freed after Chidambaram declared, "I forgive him."

While Jarnail Singh went on to publish a book about the anti-Sikh riots, a concerned Congress decided to drop Tytler from its list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.



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Omar Abdullah

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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had to face an embarrassing situation during the Independence Day parade in Srinagar when a local cop hurled a shoe at him. Head constable Abdul Ahad Jan hurled his shoe as the chief minister was unfurling the tri-colour.

Jan also waved a black flag and shouted pro-freedom slogans at the venue.

The CM later called Jan to his residence in Srinagar and told him that he had been pardoned in the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan.

Omar also told the police to withdraw the case against Jan.



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L K Advani

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A slipper was lobbed at Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani by a former functionary of the saffron party during a public meeting in Katni in Madhya Pradesh.

The slipper was hurled by former Katni district president of BJP Pawas Agarwal, who allegedly was aggrieved at the party leadership for being "removed from his post due to groupism within the party".

He threw the slipper shortly after Advani reached the dais.

Agarwal later told mediapersons that Advani was a "nakli Lauh Purush" (a fake iron man), adding, "He has no ideology."



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Naveen Jindal

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Probably drawing inspiration from journalist Jarnail Singh, a retired school teacher hurled his shoe towards Congress Member of Parliament Naveen Jindal in Kurukshetra, Haryana, but missed his target.

Ram Kumar threw his shoe towards Jindal during an election rally in Kurukshetra constituency.

While throwing the shoe at Jindal, the retired teacher said he was doing so to protest against the policies of the Congress.

Jindal later alleged that Kumar was under the influence of liquor.



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Manmohan Singh

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The soft-spoken and courteous prime minister of India seems to be an unlikely target of show missiles.

But during an election rally in Ahmedabad in April 2009, a young man hurled a shoe at Manmohan Singh, a few minutes after the PM started his address.

But the shoe failed to reach the dais and the youth was taken into custody by security forces. He was identified as Hitesh Chauhan, a student of computer engineering and a resident of Ahmedabad. The reason behind his action was never known.



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Asif Ali Zardari

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At a party convention in the British city of Birmingham, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was 'greeted' by shoes but luckily escaped being hit.

A 60-year-old man named Shamim Khan threw the shoes at Zardari in protest against the president's meeting with British Premier David Cameron, who triggered a storm in Pakistan by saying that the nation had links with groups that promoted export of terror to Afghanistan and India.

Though the Pakistan government officially denied the incident, it later requested the British government to extradite Khan.


Image: A demonstrator hits a photograph of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari with his shoe in Birmingham, central England
Photographs: Darren Staples/Reuters
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Pervez Musharraf

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Earlier this year, a man hurled a shoe at former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during a meeting in London.

The man stood up about five minutes after Musharraf began his speech at the meeting in Walthamstow, a district of London with a sizeable population of Pakistani origin, and flung his shoe at the former military ruler.

The shoe fell in the front rows and did not reach the stage, a TV channel reported.

The man was removed from the venue by security personnel.


Image: Protestors stand over a poster of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf
Photographs: Asim Tanveer/Reuters
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Wen Jiabao

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In an embarrassing incident during the high-profile visit of Wen Jiabao to the United Kingdom, a protestor called the Chinese prime minister a dictator and hurled a shoe at him.

The 27-year-old unidentified man hurled a shoe and shouted slogans against Wen while the latter was addressing the audience at an event in Cambridge University in England.

Wen was nearing the end of his address on global economy when the man stood up, blew a whistle and shouted: "How can the university prostitute itself with this dictator? How can you listen to these lies?"

The shoe thrown by the 'young Western-looking man' missed the Chinese leader by a few feet.

After the man was taken into custody, the Chinese premier calmly resumed his speech and reassured his audience that the incident would not affect the ties between UK and China.


Image: A security guard picks up a shoe that was thrown towards Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (inset) at the University of Cambridge.
Photographs: Darren Staples/Reutes
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John Howard

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Former Australian prime minister John Howard had an encounter of the shoe kind while he was defending the decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq on a TV show.

A protestor promptly removed his shoes and flung both of them at Howard, claiming they were for those killed in the Iraq war.

Another protestor shouted out, "You have blood on your hands."

But Howard remained calm throughout the incident and told his host, "It's all right, don't worry. Forget it."


Image: A protester salutes with fake blood on her hands as she wears a mask of Australian Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney
Photographs: Mark Baker/Reuters
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Tony Blair

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When former British prime minister Tony Blair turned up at a book store in Dublin, Ireland for the first public signing of his memoir A Journey, he was welcomed with eggs and shoes.

A horde of protestors slammed Blair for defending the decision to join the Iraq war in his memoir.

In spite of the intensive security cordon near the book store, protestors managed to hurl shoes and eggs at the former PM.

When the police tried to disperse them by using force, they chanted, "Hey Tony, how many children have you killed today?"


Image: Protesters, chanting slogans against former British prime minister Tony Blair, stand outside a bookshop in Dublin, Ireland
Photographs: David Moir/Reuters
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George W Bush

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And finally, here is the man who revolutionised this rather 'hard-hitting' way of reaching out to politicians and leaders -- Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zeidi.

In December 2008, Bush was on a 'farewell' trip to Iraq, a month shy of demitting office. He was addressing a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki when al-Zeidi, a reporter with the Al-Baghdadia channel, decided to make the ultimate statement with his shoes -- in Iraq, as in most nations, one of the direst forms of insult.

He hurled one that missed the United States president by a whisker; he then hurled another shoe, but that one was wider off the mark. What was on target, though, was the words he used to accompany the missiles:

"This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq. It is the farewell kiss, you dog," al-Zeidi said as he took aim.

It was a fitting farewell gift for the man who will go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever.



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