India protests slur on Sheila, Kiwis ‘sorry’

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Oct 08, 2010 01:30 IST

New Zealand said on Thursday it “deeply regretted” the unsavoury remarks — mocking and deliberately mispronouncing Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s name — made by the anchor of a private television channel in that country.

The remarks have caused a major diplomatic rift between the two countries, with India summoning New Zealand high commissioner Rupert Holborow to the ministry of external affairs to issue a strong demarche.

Vijaya Latha Reddy, Secretary (East) in the ministry, also ‘consciously’ stayed away from a lunch she was invited to, hosted in honour of the visiting New Zealand governor general by the mission on Thursday.

Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand, Admiral (retd) Sureesh Mehta also protested to the Foreign Ministry there.

The remarks were made on TVNZ channel by breakfast show host Paul Henry.

An MEA statement to the New Zealand government urged “immediate demonstrative action against the said individual to send out a clear signal that such behaviour is totally unacceptable.”

“These remarks were culturally insensitive and vulgar,” said Holborow. “They reflect the views of only one commentator and not the New Zealand government or people.”


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