India's Modi praises Bangladeshi PM's courage 'despite being a woman'

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inadvertently coined a Twitter hashtag Sunday when he praised the courage of Bangladesh's prime minister to take on terrorism "despite being a woman."

Modi's critics coin #DespiteBeingAWoman hashtag, accuse him of sexism

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina shake hands in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Saturday. (A.M. Ahad/Associated Press)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inadvertently coined a Twitter hashtag Sunday when he praised the courage of Bangladesh's prime minister to take on terrorism "despite being a woman." 

The hashtag #DespiteBeingAWoman was one of Twitter's top trending topics Monday as Indians reacted to Modi's speech at Dhaka University during a two-day visit to the neighbouring country. 

In the speech, Modi praised Sheikh Hasina for her commitment to tackling terrorism in both countries. 

"I am happy that the prime minister of Bangladesh, despite being a woman, is openly saying that she has zero tolerance for terrorism. I would like to congratulate Sheikh Hasina for her courage to deal with terrorism with zero tolerance," he added.

Modi's critics seized on those words on Twitter. 

 
 

Some Indian women boasted, with tongue firmly in cheek, about their own accomplishments #DespiteBeingAWoman. 

The hashtag was filled with photos of accomplished women in Indian politics, science and technology. 

 
 
 
 

However, Modi's defenders also posted using the same hashtag. 

Later Monday morning, the counter-hashtag #ModiEmpowersWomen was the top Twitter trending topic in India. 

 
 

With files from Reuters.

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