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Martyr's Daughter in Eye of Political Storm; Facebook Post triggers Twitter War

A Facebook campaign against Gurmehar Kaur, daughter of Kargil martyr Captain Mandeep Singh, against RSS-affiliated ABVP beccme the latest flashpoint between the government and Opposition on Monday.


Updated:February 28, 2017, 10:22 AM IST
Martyr's Daughter in Eye of Political Storm; Facebook Post triggers Twitter War
File photo of Lady Sri Ram College student Gurmehar Kaur.
New Delhi: A Facebook campaign against by the daughter of a Kashmir martyr against RSS-affiliated ABVP became the latest flashpoint between the government and Opposition on Monday.

Gurmehar Kaur, a 22-year-old Delhi University student, had started the campaign 'I am not afraid of ABVP', following the violence at Ramjas College last week. The campaign went viral and received massive support from students of various universities.

She posted her pictures on Facebook holding different placards, including 'I am not afraid of ABVP' and 'Pakistan did not kill my father but war did'.

ALSO READ | Not Scared of ABVP: Campaign by Kargil Martyr's Daughter Goes Viral

The post went viral over the weekend and on Monday, the literature student was caught up in a Twitter war when former cricketer Virender Sehwag and actor Randeep Hooda commented on the post.

Sehwag shared an image of him holding a placard saying, "I did not score two triple centuries. My bat did." While many criticised Sehwag for comparing a cricket match to a war, many others, including Randeep Hooda, cheered Sehwag for his remark, saying, "She (Gurmehar) is being made a pawn”.

"Really sweet of you to encourage the hate I've been receiving. Makes me feel happy that I adored your work :) Pawn? I can think. I don't support violence perpetuated on students? Is that so wrong (sic)," Kaur said in a series of tweets in reply to Hooda's comment.

The twitterati reacted negatively to the actor's remark prompting him to get into a damage control mode. "What's sad is that the poor girl is being used as political pawn...It absolutely wrong..have a feeling it's not limited to that in interpretation (sic)" he tweeted.

"Don't call me a Martyrs (sic) daughter if that bothers you. I never claimed anything otherwise. You can call me Gurmehar," she tweeted.

ALSO READ | Kargil Martyr's Daughter in Social Media Storm After Taking on ABVP, Gets Rape Threats

Kaur's campaign also prompted sharp reactions from the BJP, with Union Minister Kiren Rijiju wondering who was "polluting" her mind and another comparing her with wanted gangster Dawood Ibrahim.

Pratap Simha, BJP MP from Mysuru, tweeted, "At least Dawood did not use the crutches of his father's name to justify his anti-national stand." To mock Kaur, Simha also posted a photograph showing Dawood with the message, "I didn't kill people in 1993. Bombs killed them."

Rijiju also took to Twitter to take a dig at her. "Who's polluting this young girl's mind? Strong armed forces prevent a war. India never attacked anyone but a weak India was always invaded," the minister of state for Home Affairs said.

ALSO READ | Ramjas College Ruckus: ABVP Initiates 'Tiranga March', Congress Trains Gun on PM Modi

Talking to reporters, he later said, "One should not say things which could demoralise the countrymen and the forces. Everybody has freedom but that does not mean that you raise slogans to weaken the country."

Hours later, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu weighed in on the debate, saying the Centre doesn't support or endorse any violent group or activity. He claimed certain "misguided" sections were trying to mislead the young population and create social tensions, and hurt the sentiments of the people of India.

"You cannot hurt others' religious feeling, you cannot question the nation's unity and integrity. You cannot advocate separatism. Dissent, having a different opinion apart from the majority opinion is agreeable but not disintegration. Nobody can advocate disintegration?" Naidu said.

ALSO READ | Ramjas College Row: Martyr's Daughter Gurmehar Kaur Compared to Dawood Ibrahim by BJP MP

Attacking the Congress, Naidu said the people who had imposed Emergency, put restrictions on fundamental rights, people who put entire opposition behind bars and imposed censorship on the media are now giving sermons on freedom of expression. "The Congress imposed Emergency while the Left supported the black deeds of Emergency," he said.

Coming to Kaur's defence, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi tweeted that the party was with the students "against this tyranny". "Against the tyranny of fear we stand with our students. For every voice raised in anger, intolerance &ignorance there will be a Gurmehar Kaur," he said.

Ramjas College had recently witnessed large-scale violence between members of the AISA and the ABVP. The genesis of the clash was an invite to JNU students Umar Khalid, who was accused of sedition last year, and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar on 'Culture of Protests', which was withdrawn by the college authorities following opposition by the ABVP.

ALSO READ | Dissent is Agreeable, Not Disintegration: Naidu on Ramjas College Violence
| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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