The remarks were made by PM Modi while he was interacting with students on Saturday at the Smart India Hackathon organised by IIT Roorkee.(Bloomberg)
The remarks were made by PM Modi while he was interacting with students on Saturday at the Smart India Hackathon organised by IIT Roorkee.(Bloomberg)

‘Insensitive’: PM Modi’s query to student’s project on dyslexia sparks criticism

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has issued a statement condemning the “disrespectful and insensitive” remarks made by PM Modi.
By HT Correspondent | New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2019 11:44 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi often takes swipes at Congress president Rahul Gandhi. But an effort to take a dig at his 48-year-old rival during an interaction with students has drawn sharp criticism from opposition leaders who criticised him for being insensitive towards dyslexic kids.

PM Modi had made the remark during an interaction with students at the Smart India Hackathon organised by IIT Roorkee on Saturday.

A student told PM Modi about her project to help dyslexic kids and gave an example of the movie Taare Zameen Par. Modi asked her if the project “will help a kid who is 40-50 years old”. When she applied in the affirmative, the PM said then “the mother of such kids would be very happy.”

At the event, the comment drew applause from the students. The criticism from the opposition and others came later.

Former Karnataka chief minister and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah joined PM Modi’s critics on Monday, saying it was a heartless to take political potshots in the name of dyslexic people.

“You just can’t go below this. Your insensitivity can’t be washed away by dipping in any river. They may be slow in learning but not heartless like you,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.

CPM general secretary said that Modi’s comments were both “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?” Yechury tweeted.

Former lawmaker Shahid Siddiqui also took offence to PM Modi’s comment. “My daughter Tania is a special person and I am proud of her, She is doing her best to coop (cope) with learning disabilities & I won’t allow anyone to look down upon her…” he tweeted.

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has issued a statement condemning the “disrespectful and insensitive” remarks made by PM Modi.

The statement said that “instead of answering a question posed by a student, the PM sought to take potshots at his political rivals” and called it all the “more unpardonable as it comes from a person holding such a high office.”

“It also displays scant respect for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 according to which this constitutes an offence. The least the PM can do is apologies for his remarks,” the statement added.

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