After receiving massive criticism from internet trolls, certain Indian female athletes have withdrawn their identical tweets which were in support of a government initiative about empowering women. These athletes include the likes of boxing champion MC Mary Kom and wrestler Geeta Phogat.
On the eve of Diwali, India's leading female athletes took to Twitter and wrote, “I thank @narendramodi for his initiative to honour and empower women this Diwali. Acknowledgement motivates us to work harder and make India proud. #bharatkilaxmi.”
It appeared as if these athletes had copy and pasted the tweet on their official accounts. Later, wrestler Pooja Dhanda posted the exact tweet but forgot to remove ‘text:’ at the beginning of the post. This is what drew the media’s attention and attracted the trolls.
Geeta Phogat, later, rewrote the message thanking the Prime Minister after deleting the initial tweet. Mary Kom and Pooja Dhanda also deleted their tweets.
Badminton superstars PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, table tennis player Manika Batra and wrestler Nikhat Zareen were also among the other athletes who had posted the same identical tweets.
The posts were aimed at promoting the government’s #BharatKiLaxmi initiative. Bharat Ki Laxmi is an initiative started by PM Narendra Modi, stated in Mann Ki Baat (his monthly radio address), which is used to highlight the achievements of women “engaged in teaching underprivileged children”, “spreading awareness about sanitation and health,” “serving the society as Doctors, Engineers or striving for justice to someone by working as Lawyer.” It is about recognizing such people.
He also said, “Daughters are considered as Lakshmi in our culture. Can’t we felicitate daughters in our villages and cities by holding public programmes?”
Minister of State Youth Affairs & Sports, Kiren Rijiju also took to Twitter in support of this initiative by the government to empower women.
He tweeted, “This Diwali, let's all celebrate womanhood. Societies grow when women are empowered and their accomplishments are given a place of pride! PM @narendramodi ji has appealed everyone to celebrate #BharatKiLaxmi for the extraordinary success of the women of India”.