Indians following Modi's #SelfieWithDaughter

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gesturing during the launch of "Digital India Week".
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gesturing during the launch of "Digital India Week".PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI • Mr Narendra Modi's appeal to parents to post snapshots on social media with their daughters to tackle India's skewed sex ratio has gone viral, with ministers, sporting stars and business leaders among those responding.

#SelfieWithDaughter is trending after the Internet-savvy Prime Minister launched the campaign on Sunday during his monthly radio address to promote gender equality in the deeply patriarchal country.

"I urge all of you, share a #Selfie WithDaughter," Mr Modi tweeted after the show, crediting the head of a village in Haryana, the state with the lowest ratio of female to male births, with the idea.

Sporting stars who took up the initiative included cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, who posted a photo of himself smiling with his daughter.

Since storming to power in last year's general election, Mr Modi has sought to position himself as a champion of women's rights, emphasising education for girls and an end to female foeticide in a country which favours boys over girls.

Mr Modi, with 13 million followers on Twitter, often uses social media to promote his initiatives. But some women's activists have branded the online campaign a gimmick, saying the government slashed funding for "everything that deals with women" in its last Budget.

"A campaign can't be restricted to social media, you need to take women out, have them reclaim public space, have them disrupt comfort spaces of patriarchy," said Ms Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association. "Otherwise it's all rubbish." AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'Indians following Modi's #SelfieWithDaughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe