16:54 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Indian Defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurates the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets destined for India during the delivery ceremony, on October 8, 2019 at Dassault Aviation plant in Merignac.

    Indian Defence Minister Becomes Butt of Twitter Jokes for 'Worshipping' New Rafale Jet In France

    © AFP 2019 / GEORGES GOBET
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who took delivery of the country’s first Rafale combat jet plane in France on Tuesday has been mocked on social media.

    Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who took delivery of the country’s first Rafale combat jet plane in France on 8 October, has been mocked on social media.

    After he welcomed the fighter jet into the Indian Army, he performed the customary Indian rituals of “vahana pujan” and “shastra pujan” – vehicle and weapon worship on the combat plane.

    Pictures and videos making the rounds on social media also showed Singh writing the Hindu religious chant “Om” with red vermilion on the plane along with flowers and a coconut as part of his prayers.

    Indian Defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurates the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets destined for India during the delivery ceremony, on October 8, 2019 at Dassault Aviation plant in Merignac.
    © AFP 2019 / GEORGES GOBET
    Indian Defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurates the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets destined for India during the delivery ceremony, on October 8, 2019 at Dassault Aviation plant in Merignac.

    As per Indian beliefs, the minister also placed lemons below the tyres of the plane, to safeguard it against bad omens.

    Social media exploded over the images with all sorts of reactions: while some people found the gestures endearing, others poked fun at the minister.

    ​The minister's decision to write “Om” on the jet also evoked reactions with many blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for hurting the secular sentiments of Indian citizens. With over 20,000 mentions, #RafalePujaPolitics is trending on Twitter.

    However, several people explained on Twitter that this is how every “puja” or worship happens in India and how the focus must be on the benefits Rafale jets would bring to the Indian Army.

                 Those doing #RafalePujaPolitics must listen to what the youth of India think of Rafale. 

    ​The minister's visit to Paris coincided with the festival of “Dusshera” in India that celebrates the victory of good over evil.

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