Posted by Fenil Seta
Subhash K Jha (DNA; March 2, 2017)
Gurmehar Kaur may have withdrawn from the #StudentsAgainstABVP campaign after repeated rape and death threats, but the Lady Shri Ram College English Honours student is still finding supporters. The latest one comes from within the ruling government’s own ranks. Shatrughan Sinha of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has strongly condemned these trolls.
What Kaur did...
Kaur was taking a stand against the violence perpetrated by the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) following their clash with the AISA (All India Students Association) at Ramjas College.
What happened next
She started an online campaign called #StudentsAgainstABVP holding a placard, which she posted as her display picture on social media, which then went viral. This was followed by the likes of former cricketer Virender Sehwag, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and actor Randeep Hooda, questioning her motives. Sehwag poked fun at her for her previous participation in the #ProfileForPeace campaign, Hooda endorsed Sehwag. Politicians and trolls also ranted against her.
Shotgun shoots away
Shatru lashed out against the sportsmen and actor and said, “The poor girl is being frightened into silence by the self-appointed nationalists and desh bhakts who are nothing but closet bullies.”
He condemns the virtual attack on the college student and adds, “We really need to stop labelling every Indian who speaks of peace with Pakistan as anti-national. And please leave the kids of this country alone. You may not agree with their views. But you can’t snatch away their right to have an opinion on everything including politics. If we continue to bully the young, we’ll soon have no individual thoughts and opinions, only the herd mentality. You may not agree with what that girl says. But you can’t silence her voice no matter how much you dislike her point-of-view.”
‘Need youth to speak up’
He had strong words for the ruling party (to which he belongs) as well. “If it is true that she has been issued rape threats, shame on the Government for not arresting these goons masquerading as nationalists! It is not patriotic to bully and threaten the young into silence. We need the youth to speak its mind to grow as a nation. True dissent is a birthright of democracy,” he declared.
All for peace
What’s more, Sinha is all for a resumption of peace talks with Pakistan. “So many Pakistani soldiers are returned from India to Pakistan. Recently, Pakistan gave us back our soldier, Chandu Babulal Chawan. Such reconciliatory gestures are the need of the hour. We cannot laugh away or shout down voices that desire peace with our neighbours. Not our children, please! Gurmehar apne ghar ki bachchi hai. Don’t talk about harming her just because you don’t agree with her opinion. Contradict her and scold her by all means. But don’t threaten her.”