Friday, October 8, 2010

New Zealand Apologizes for Racist Remark on CM

Angered by a Kiwi TV anchor’s comments ridiculing Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, India on Thursday summoned New Zealand high commissioner Rupert Holborow while strongly and unequivocally denouncing the ‘‘racist’’ remarks. Holborow was quick to express regret for the remarks by TVNZ presenter Paul Henry, describing them as vulgar and culturally insensitive.

Issuing a strong demarche, the government said it was shocking that such bigoted views were aired by a representative of a mainstream media organization of a multi-ethnic democracy like New Zealand.

‘‘These remarks are totally unacceptable to India and should be condemned by all right thinking people and nations. It is hoped that the government of New Zealand would take immediate demonstrative action against the said individual to send out a clear signal that such behavior is totally unacceptable,’’ a statement issued by the foreign ministry said.

According to the government, Holborow conveyed deep regret for the hurt caused by the comments which he characterized as culturally insensitive, inappropriate and vulgar and certainly not the views of the government of New Zealand. He also acknowledged the ‘‘vital contribution’’ of the Delhi CM to the Commonwealth Games.

The Indian high commissioner in New Zealand has also taken up this matter with the New Zealand government. On Thursday, the New Zealand high commission had organized a lunch in honor of Governor-general Sir Anand Satyanand but Indian officials kept away from the event.

‘‘These remarks were culturally insensitive, inappropriate and vulgar. They reflect the views of only one media commentator (who has already been censored for other racist and unacceptable comments), and certainly not the New Zealand government or people,’’ Holborow later said in a statement.

It was a double whammy for Henry as he had just been suspended by TVNZ for two weeks for a racial slur at the country’s Indian-origin governor-general Satyanand.

During a TVNZ programme on Monday, Henry asked Prime Minister John Key whether Anand was a New Zealander. When Key told him that Anand was a New Zealander, Henry asked if he was going to pick someone who looked more like a New Zealander next time.

Henry’s jibe at Dikshit was equally disgusting, if not worse. ‘‘The dip shit woman. God, what’s her name? Dick Shit. Is it Dick Shit... it looks like dick shit,’’ he said on his breakfast show. It did not end there though. ‘‘It’s so appropriate, because she’s Indian, so she’d be dick-in-shit wouldn’t she, do you know what I mean? Walking along the street... it’s just so funny,’’ he went on.

Talking to a news channel, Dikshit later said, ‘‘I don’t know what the reasons are but I think they are being... in diplomacy they don’t use this kind of words. Our students have also been suffering there. I really don’t know. It’s for the government of India, the MEA to take note of all this and give them an appropriate request or action.’’