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World

Web Desk
March 5, 2019

Modi faces wrath of rights groups for making fun of dyslexics

World

Web Desk
Tue, Mar 05, 2019

Right groups has said   that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi must apologise to differently abled students for his   insensitive remarks at a local institute.

Indian Prime Minister questioned if a programme for dyslexic children could also help a "40 to 50-year-old child" - in remarks that appeared to be an attempt to taunt his political rival Rahul Gandhi.

Dr Roma Kumar, a clinical psychologist who specialises in learning disabilities, was quoted as saying: "When the head of a country talks like this, it is very, very insensitive. He must apologise."

Her voice adds weight to the wave of condemnation of Mr Modi's comments. In a statement, rights groups also demanded Modi to apologise after he appeared to poke fun at dyslexia at a public event, triggering outrage.

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can affect reading, writing and spelling. According to a 2015 government estimate, at least 10% - or nearly 35 million - Indian children are dyslexic.

Modi's controversial comments came as an engineering student began telling Indian Prime Minister  - who was speaking via video link - about her programme.

"We have an idea to help dyslexic children," she said, "whose pace of learning and writing is very slow. But they have a high intelligence and creativity level."

She then referred to Taare Zameen Par, the 2007 Bollywood hit film which centred around a dyslexic child.

At this point, the prime minister interrupted her and asked, "Will this programme work for a 40 to 50-year-old child too?"

But before she could move on, the prime minister again interjected, saying: "Then that will make the mothers of such children very happy."

Though Mr Modi did not name, it was immediately obvious that he was attempting to ridicule Rahul Gandhi, the opposition Congress party president, and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, also a politician. India faces a looming election before the end of May.

According to Indian right groups, instead of replying to the question, Modi made fun of dyslexia to take “potshots at his political rivals”.

“The [Indian] PM should under no circumstances be making such a remark…The least the PM [Modi] can do is apologise for his remarks.”


But the joke seems to have backfired, with the prime minister being castigated for his remarks. Many opposition leaders and citizens took to social media to criticise him: