No milk of human kindness:PM Modi was interacting with participants of 'Smart India Hackathon 2019' through a video conference
Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced searing criticism on social media on Sunday as a video clip showing him cracking a joke on dyslexia allegedly at the expense of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi was widely shared on Twitter. The Prime Minister made the joke during an interaction that was beamed live to thousands of students participating in a competition to find technology-driven solutions to tackle issues related to women and children.
During the video conference for 'Smart India Hackathon 2019' on Saturday night, an engineering student from Dehradun told the Prime Minister about a program that could help dyslexic children who face reading and writing difficulties.
She said, "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..."
It is at this point that the Prime Minister interrupted the student and asked a question.
"Will this program work for a 40-50 year old child too?" PM Modi asked, drawing laughter from the students.
As he took a step back to let the punch line sink in, many broke into guffaws and applause.
Prompted by her peers, the student with the microphone replied: "Yes sir, it will work."
But PM Modi wasn't done yet.
"Then that will make the mothers of such children very happy," he said, to another round of laughter.
The exchange was severely criticised on social media, including by members of the opposition.
BJP leaders have frequently attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his faux pas, often painting him as immature or slow. The Prime Minister has himself lashed out at the Congress chief for being "childish" after he hugged him in parliament at the end of an impassioned debate last year.
The Goa unit of the student wing of the Congress, National Students' Union of India, has complained against PM Modi to President Ram Nath Kovind, the United Nations and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for allegedly discriminating dyslexic children.