04 Mar 2019
PM indirectly calls Opposition members 'dyslexic,' gets slammed
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known for his oratory skills and his pitch-perfect speeches.
However, recently, the PM drew flak from the public after he cracked a joke over dyslexic people, while presumably referring to Senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and her son, Congress President Rahul.
He made the joke during a video conference with students on Saturday.
Here's what happened.
Dehradun student explains Modi about program to help dyslexic children
On Saturday, Smart India Hackathon 2019 was being held in IIT-Roorkee, where thousands of students from across the country came together to find technology-driven solutions for issues pertaining to women and children.
During the online interaction with Modi, a female engineering student from Dehradun explained to him about a program for helping dyslexic children who have trouble with reading and writing.
Modi asks if the program will work for 40-year-old "child"
"We have an idea to help dyslexic children, whose pace of learning and writing is very slow. But they have a high intelligence and creativity level as you have seen in the movie Taare Zameen Par..." the student said.
At this point, the Prime Minister interrupted her and jokingly asked, "Will this program work for a 40 or 50-year-old child too?"
Modi follows it up with another joke referring to Sonia
Modi's rhetoric question, presumably meant for Rahul, was followed by bursting laughter and applause among students.
Prompted by her cheering peers, the student answered, "Yes sir, it'll work for them too."
Modi then continued the joke, saying, "Then that will make the mothers of such children very happy," likely referring to Sonia.
Once again, his banter drew more chuckles and guffaws from the audience.
Netizens angry with Modi's remarks; calls him 'insensitive'
However, netizens weren't happy with the remarks the PM made in his jest, and called him 'insensitive'.
"As a parent, I don't want my kid to listen to a speaker who'd use dyslexia as a slur," wrote one.
AltNews co-founder, Pratik Sinha, commented, "The Prime Minister of India keeping it classy as ever. Cracking a joke about dyslexia to target a political opponent."
'Is there no limit to this man's insensitivity?'
PM #Modi cracks a crude joke about dyslexia then vulgarly laughs at it.— Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) March 3, 2019
In the past, he has mocked the pain of parents losing a child by saying that they forget the child in a year.
Is there no limit to this man's insensitivity?#BiharRejectsModi #ModInAmethi pic.twitter.com/hWcXYt8dHV
Enough, Mr. Modi. Yeh hai sanskar aapke, asks Sitaram Yechury
Shameful and distressing. Some of us have dyslexic or disabled relatives, friends, children and parents. Sattar saal mein pehli baar, a person with this crassness occupies the chair of the PM. Enough, Mr Modi. Yeh hain sanskar aapke? https://t.co/8wBvtjPy7q— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) March 3, 2019
National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled demands apology
The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) also condemned Modi's "insensitive and distasteful" remarks and demanded an apology.
In a statement issued yesterday, the organization said, "It (remark) displays scant respect for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 according to which this constitutes an offense. The least the PM can do is apologize for his remarks."
Modi previously called Rahul 'childish' for hugging him in Parliament
The Congress' President's faux pas has never gone unnoticed by the BJP leaders, who often dub him as immature or/and slow. PM Modi himself said Rahul was being "childish" after the latter hugged him in the Parliament last year.