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Racist slur against Dikshit: NZ says sorry

Last updated on: October 07, 2010 21:44 IST

Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna summoned the New Zealand High Commissioner on Thursday over racist remarks made by a TV show presenter on Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Krishna said that such remarks were 'totally unacceptable' and noted that all kinds of racial slur should be avoided.

Earlier this week, TV anchor Paul Henry made offensive remarks on air about how Dikshit's name should be pronounced. He also made derogatory remarks about Indians, a NDTV report stated

Before that, Henry had attacked New Zealand Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand, who is of Indian origin. Henry has reportedly been suspended by his TV station.

Later in the evening, the New Zealand high commissioner issued a statement saying he would "like to convey my deep regret for the hurt these comments have caused."

He said the comments "reflect the views of only one media commentator (who has already been censored for other racist and unacceptable comments) and certainly not of the New Zealand government or people".

Holborow said, "I would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the vital contribution the chief minister has made to the Commonwealth Games".

As high commissioner, he said, "I always look forward to celebrating the warm and positive links between our two countries and there is never a case for making remarks of this nature, which are hurtful."

He said New Zealand "highly values its relationship with India and we pride ourselves on being a welcoming, tolerant and inclusive society".

There are currently over 100,000 New Zealanders of Indian ethnic origin (almost 3 percent of the population), the second largest immigrant group from Asia after China, the envoy said, adding they "play a leading role in our nation, together with other communities from around the world".

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