New Delhi, Jan 10, 2022: Actor Siddharth’s tweet on badminton player Saina Nehwal’s comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent security scare in Punjab has run into a controversy over outright sexist overtones.
Ms Nehwal had raised concerns over PM Modi’s convoy’s being stopped for some 20 minutes on a flyover in Punjab’s Bathinda as the road was blocked by protesting farmers last week.
"No nation can claim itself to be safe if the security of its own PM gets compromised. I condemn, in the strongest words possible, the cowardly attack on PM Modi by anarchists," Ms Nehwal, an Olympic Bronze medallist, tweeted.
Retweeting Ms Nehwal, Siddharth posted, "Subtle cock champion of the world... Thank God we have protectors of India. Folded hands. Shame on you Rihanna."
The Rihanna tangent referred to the international pop star giving support to farmers who had been protesting against three new farm laws - now withdrawn - in February last year, after which Indian celebrities and leaders had criticised her for interfering in India’s internal matters.
"COCK & BULL"— Siddharth (@Actor_Siddharth) January 10, 2022
That’s the reference. Reading otherwise is unfair and leading!
Nothing disrespectful was intended, said or insinuated. Period. 🙏🏽
Siddharth’s tweet has been criticised by the National Commission for Women’s chairperson Rekha Sharma. "This man needs a lesson or two. @TwitterIndia why this person’s account still exists? Taking it up with concerned police," Ms Rekha said.
The actor after a while responded that he did not mean to disrespect anyone and his "subtle cock" tweet contained no kind of insinuation.
In the follow-up tweet, the actor said, "Cock and bull. That’s the reference. Reading otherwise is unfair and leading. Nothing disrespectful was intended, said or insinuated. Period."
Others who criticised the actor for the tweet include BJP leader Khushbu Sundar, who said, "Sid you are a friend but definitely wasn’t expecting this from you. It’s very crass. I am sure uncle and aunty wouldn’t be proud of you. Don’t get carried with your hatred towards an individual."
A high-level committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge will investigate the breach in PM Modi’s security in Punjab that has snowballed into a major political issue in the run-up to the state election.