Nawaz Sharif sparks controversy with his 'dehati aurat' remark

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 29, 2013 10:30 hrs

A few reports on Sunday claimed that the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, just hours ahead of his meeting with Manmohan Singh, called the Indian Premier a 'dehati aurat' (village woman or rural woman).

The controversial remark, which is claimed to have been spoken off-the-record, is said to have been reported by senior Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir.

But Indian journalist, Barkha Dutt, present at the interview defended the Pakistani PM by saying that his comment is being reported out of context and that he didn't say it in a derogatory manner. She said Sharif did call Manmohan that but the remark was just an allegorical tale.

The remark seems to be a reference pointing to Manmohan complaining to the US about Pakistan like a woman involving a third party in a dispute with her husband.

On Sunday, BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi hit out at Sharif for his remark.

Calling it "a serious issue", a visibly agitated Modi told a Bharatiya Janata Party rally in New Delhi that Sharif made the remark during a meeting with Indian and Pakistani journalists in New York.

"How dare you say this?" Modi said, raising his voice. "What right you have to say this?"

Modi said that while he was willing to take on Manmohan Singh within the country, he would not tolerate any attack on the Indian prime minister by a foreigner.

"There can never be a greater insult to the Indian PM. There cannot be a greater insult to India," he said of Sharif's reported remark.

And as the crowds roared, Modi added: "We will not tolerate any insult to India."

Modi's comments came hours before Manmohan Singh and Sharif are set to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The BJP leader said Sharif's description of Manmohan Singh as a "dehati aurat" had caused him great grief.

He added that the reason Sharif "insulted" Manmohan Singh was because the Indian prime minister was not being respected by his own Congress party.

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