When a shoe was hurled at BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao during a press conference on Thursday, it brought back to memory a series of such incidents that made headlines in the past few years. Shoe throwing or shoeing received attention after Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, threw his shoes at the then US President George W Bush in a 2008 press conference. Since the al-Zaidi incident, similar incidents were reported in Europe, North America, India, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Turkey and Australia.
Here are some shoe-throwing incidents reported since 2008:
George W Bush: On December 14, 2008, Iraqi broadcast journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi flung his “size 10” shoes, one after the other, at the former US president at a press conference in Baghdad. At a press conference where Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was also present, al-Zaidi yelled at Bush in Arabic before mounting his shoe attack. “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog. This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq,” he said.
Bush, however, ducked once and shielded his face next when al-Zaidi’s shoe narrowly missed his head. The President was not hurt in the attack. al-Zaidi was tackled by the al-Maliki’s bodyguards after his shoes missed Bush. He spent nine months in jail before he was released for good behaviour in 2009, Buzzfeed reported. He briefly left the country before returning in 2011. He is currently the president of al-Zaidi Foundation which is involved in humanitarian work.
P Chidambaram: In April 2009, AAP leader Jarnail Singh, who was then working as a journalist, threw his shoe at the then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram for giving Lok Sabha tickets to Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler. Both are accused in 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Singh later joined AAP and became an MLA in Delhi but later resigned to fight Punjab Assembly polls which he lost.
Naveen Jindal: A few days after journalist Jarnail Singh grabbed national headlines in 2009, a retired school teacher identified as Raj Pal flung at the then Kurukshetra MP Navin Jindal. The attacker had alleged that the industrialist had not provided a job to his son.
Manmohan Singh: 2009 seemed to be an year of shoe throwers. In April 2009, the then prime minister Manmohan Singh was addressing a rally in Ahmedabad when a shoe was hurled at him. The shoe, however, fell off the mark.
The thrower, an engineering student, was detained by security but let off as Singh chose to pardon him. The student denied being affiliated to any political party and said he had done it only as a publicity stunt.
L K Advani: A former BJP office-bearer hurled a wooden slipper, or ‘khadaun’, in 2009 at Advani, the BJP’s leading prime ministerial candidate for the upcoming general elections that year. The man, identified as Pawas Agarwal, said Advani was a ‘fake Iron Man’ and did not deserve to be the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
Arvind Kejriwal: The Delhi Chief Minister had a larger share of such attacks, with the APP convener been the target since he entered public life. Apart from being shoed, he was also slapped during an election campaign in April 2014 and faced ink attack in another incident in November 2013.
An Aam Aadmi Party Sena member on April 9, 2016, first hurled a CD, and then a shoe at Kejriwal at a press conference in Delhi. The shoe, however, missed the target. The man identified himself as Ved Sharma, a member of a breakaway faction of Aam Aadmi Party. The man shouted something about a sting operation on a CNG scam before he hurled the shoe which fell on the table in front of Kejriwal. The attacker was whisked away by Secretariat officials before being detained by police.
GVL Narasimha Rao: An unidentified man hurled a shoe at BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi on April 18, 2019. Other party leaders were also present at the spot.
Rao was addressing reporters along with BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav when the man, who later identified himself as a doctor by profession, threw a shoe at him. The accused was nabbed by workers and escorted out of the venue. It was not immediately clear why the person threw the shoe.