Old man and the shoe | india | Hindustan Times
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Old man and the shoe

india Updated: Apr 11, 2009 01:26 IST

The latest use of footwear, as a weapon of protest, lost a bit of its shine on Friday. A drunk man hurled his shoe at Congress candidate Navin Jindal in Kurukshetra to protest Congress’s policies.

Jindal was in the middle of a speech during a party workers’ meeting at Congress Bhavan when Rajpal, a retired principal of a government school at Babain, threw a shoe at him and shouted, “Your government has taken away my son’s job. How many have got one (a job) through you?”

Witnesses said he termed it a “befitting reply to the policies of the ruling Congress in Haryana”.

The shoe missed Jindal by inches and fell in front of MLA Ramesh Gupta who was seated alongside him. Gupta hurled the shoe back at Rajpal.

Congress supporters quickly overpowered and beat up Rajpal. The police whisked him away to a hospital where a check-up confirmed he was drunk.

Jindal, a 39-year-old industrialist-turned-politician, appeared calm and said though he had forgiven Rajpal personally, the law would take its own course.

Later in the day, the police registered a case under sections 451, 504, 506 and 510 of the IPC against Rajpal at Thansesar police station.

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Maintaining that he had never thought such an incident could happen, Jindal, contesting for the second time from Kurukshetra, said, “Anything is possible anywhere. This is only a shoe. Somebody could shoot you also. There could be a bomb blast. Anything can happen, but this is unfortunate.” He said the opposition parties could have had a hand in the incident.

Rajpal, a resident of Narwana, has two sons, Rajinder and Naveen. Rajinder lost his job as a data operator at Kurukshetra University when 40 operators appointed on contract during the Indian National Lok Dal regime were removed by then vice-chancellor R.P. Hooda to make way for the appointment of permanent staff.

A few hours after the incident, a sober Rajpal said, “I was not in my senses at that time but I didn’t intend to hurt anyone.”

Jindal did not lose his sense of humour. “After George Bush and P. Chidambaram, I’m perhaps the third most popular leader.” Earlier this week, Dainik Jagran journalist Jarnail Singh had hurled his shoe at home minister Chidambaram at a press conference in Delhi to protest against the CBI clean chit to Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

Singh had got away scot-free. But Rajpal will be produced in court on Saturday.