Ivanka Trump draws derision in India for praising migrant's hard journey home
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - U.S. presidential adviser Ivanka Trump's praise of an Indian teenager's bicycle ride home hundreds of kilometres away is drawing criticism in India for being insensitive to the plight of impoverished migrant workers struggling in a lockdown.
"15 yr old Jyoti Kumari, carried her wounded father to their home village on the back of her bicycle covering +1,200 km over 7 days. This beautiful feat of endurance & love has captured the imagination of the Indian people and the cycling federation!" Ivanka, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, tweeted on Friday night.
India's cycling federation, impressed with her endurance, has invited her for trials and said it could groom her into a cyclist, local media reported.But opposition political figures, as well as some commentators, in the country of 1.3 billion said Jyoti's desperate journey home because of a crippling transport shutdown was hardly something to celebrate.
"Her poverty & desperation are being glorified as if Jyoti cycled 1,200 KM for the thrill of it. Government failed her, that's hardly something to trumpet as an achievement," Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, tweeted on Saturday in response to Ivanka's message.
Health experts say India's vast lockdown has helped limit the spread of COVID-19, but it has pushed millions who live on daily wages to the brink of poverty. After weeks of mounting criticism and tales of hardship, the government is now running trains and buses to help the migrants get home.
"This is not a feat of excellence. It’s a feat fuelled by desperation caused due to the callous attitude of the government," said Kanti Chidambaram, an opposition member of parliament, about the teenager's hard journey home.Jyoti's father, a rickshaw driver in north India, said he could not cycle because of an accident he had suffered months ago. With food and cash running out, his daughter decided she would ride him to their village in the eastern state of Bihar.
"Initially I had doubts because she is just 15, but I was wrong," Mohan Paswan told Reuters by phone."She asked me to sit on the bicycle and not pay heed to what people would say."They survived on biscuits and food that people gave them during the stops in the blistering Indian summer. Jyoti said she was happy she had brought her father home safely.
She declined to be drawn into controversy about Ivanka's post, saying,"I am very happy with the appreciation I am getting from all the corners."(Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by William Mallard) Read more: The Star »
Father daughter both same mentality
Trump says he finally wore a mask and 'it looked very nice' | New Straits TimesYPSILANTI, United States: US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he’d finally overcome his aversion to wearing masks against the Covid-19 coronavirus – but didn’t want be photographed.
Latin America declared 'new epicentre' as Trump demands churches reopenWHO says Brazil is currently 'most affected' due to significant deaths among younger people. FMTNews LatinAmerica
Drug taken by Trump linked to death risk, study saysDemand for hydroxychloroquine surged after the US president touted its use as Covid-19 treatment. FMTNews
Russia says will observe Open Skies treaty after Trump withdrawal | The Malaysian InsightAmerican president says his country will pull out of the treaty until Russia adheres to it.
US to withdraw from arms treaty, its third in Trump era | The Malaysian InsightThe Trump administration accuses Russia of violating the treaty and will only remain in the pact if Moscow complies.
Trump visits Ford plant in crucial voting state, leaves mask off for camerasUS president says he didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing him in a mask. FMTNews