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Prime Minister Modi's 'insensitive' dyslexia jibe at Rahul Gandhi triggers outrage

Congress Leader And Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Said That The PM's 'insensitivity Cannot Be Washed Away By Dipping In Any River'.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Srishty Choudhury | Updated on: 05 Mar 2019, 07:55:14 AM
PM Modi was addressing the ‘Smart India Hackathon’ via a video conference. (File photo)

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a jibe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday while addressing the ‘Smart India Hackathon’ via a video conference. In response to an engineering student's reference to a programme that could help dyslexic students, PM Modi asked, if the same could 'also help a 40-50-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 engineering student had said during the event.

In response, PM Modi said, "Will this programme work for a 40-50-year-old child too? Then that will make the mothers of such children very happy." The prime minister’s comments drew laughter from the audience, however, it didn’t go down to well with many who called him ‘insensitive’ to poke fun at dyslexia at a public event. This also triggered outrage.

Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that the PM's 'insensitivity cannot be washed away by dipping in any river'.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said, “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? (sic)”

Aam Aadmi Party leader Preeti Sharma Menon tweeted, “God! When we thought @narendramodi cd not go any lower, he still manages to stoop. As a parent I do not want my kid to listen to a speaker who'd use dyslexia as a slur and here our Prime Minister uses dyslexia to insult @RahulGandhi This is wrong on so many levels!!!*(sic).”

"When the head of a country talks like this, it is very, very insensitive. He must apologise," said leading clinical psychologist Dr Roma Kumar said as quoted by the BBC.

‘Smart India Hackathon’ was an event meant to encourage students to come up with technology-driven solutions to issues related to women and child safety. Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can affect reading, writing and spelling. Some well-known people with dyslexia include director Steven Spielberg and actors Tom Cruise and Abhishek Bachchan.

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First Published : 05 Mar 2019, 07:51:59 AM