Anger in In­dia over Modi’s ‘de­spite be­ing a woman’ speech

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi set off a so­cial me­dia storm Mon­day af­ter he praised his Bangladeshi coun­ter­part for hav­ing the courage to fight ter­ror­ism “de­spite be­ing a woman.”

Modi com­pli­mented Sheikh Hasina dur­ing a two-day visit to Bangla- desh at the week­end, say­ing in Hindi it was “heart­en­ing that the prime min­is­ter of Bangladesh, de­spite be­ing a woman, is openly say­ing that she has zero tol­er­ance for ter­ror­ism.”

The com­ment sparked a flurry of sar­cas­tic com­ments, jokes and pic­tures of suc­cess­ful In­dian women on so­cial me­dia. The #De­spiteBe­ingA- Woman Twit­ter hash­tag was In­dia’s top trend­ing topic on Mon­day.

“Man­aged to wake up & eat break­fast #De­spite­Bein­gA­Woman,” posted Twit­ter user Swati Chaturvedi.

While scores poked fun at the In­dian pre­mier’s gaffe, oth­ers ex­pressed anger, ques­tion­ing whether Modi meant women were gen­er­ally tol­er­ant of ter­ror­ism.

In­dian politi­cians, in­clud­ing some from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, have come un­der fire in the past for sex­ist lan­guage.

But since storm­ing to power in May last year, Modi has sought to po­si­tion him­self as a cham­pion of women’s rights, em­pha­siz­ing the im- por­tance of toi­lets for poor and vul­ner­a­ble women, ed­u­ca­tion for girls and the end­ing of fe­male foeti­cide in In­dia.

In his first In­de­pen­dence Day speech last Au­gust, he ad­dressed the is­sue of ris­ing sex­ual as­saults on women and called on par­ents to raise their sons bet­ter.

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