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Ivanka Trump draws derision in India for praising migrant’s hard journey home

NEW DELHI: US presidential adviser Ivanka Trump's praise of an Indian teenager's bicycle ride home hundreds of kilometres away is drawing criticism in India for being insensitive to the plight of impoverished migrant workers struggling in a lockdown.

The girl carried her father on the back of her bicycle for about a week for 1,200km, the two said on Saturday (May 23), one of the many out-of-work migrant families leaving the big cities for their homes in other parts of India because the shutdown has sapped their savings.

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"15 yr old Jyoti Kumari, carried her wounded father to their home village on the back of her bicycle covering +1,200km over 7 days. This beautiful feat of endurance & love has captured the imagination of the Indian people and the cycling federation!" Ivanka, daughter of US President Donald Trump, tweeted on Friday night.

15 yr old Jyoti Kumari, carried her wounded father to their home village on the back of her bicycle covering +1,200 km over 7 days.

This beautiful feat of endurance & love has captured the imagination of the Indian people and the cycling federation!🇮🇳 https://t.co/uOgXkHzBPz

— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 22, 2020

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India's cycling federation, impressed with her endurance, has invited her for trials and said it could groom her into a cyclist, local media reported.

But opposition political figures, as well as some commentators, in the country of 1.3 billion said Jyoti's desperate journey home because of a crippling transport shutdown was hardly something to celebrate.

"Her poverty & desperation are being glorified as if Jyoti cycled 1,200km for the thrill of it. Government failed her, that's hardly something to trumpet as an achievement," Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, tweeted on Saturday in response to Ivanka's message.

Health experts say India's vast lockdown has helped limit the spread of COVID-19, but it has pushed millions who live on daily wages to the brink of poverty. After weeks of mounting criticism and tales of hardship, the government is now running trains and buses to help the migrants get home.

"This is not a feat of excellence. Its a feat fuelled by desperation caused due to the callous attitude of the government," said Kanti Chidambaram, an opposition member of parliament, about the teenager's hard journey home.

Jyoti's father, a rickshaw driverRead More – Source