Viral Sach: What's the controversy over Kargil martyr's daughter Gurmehar Kaur?

Viral Sach: What's the controversy over Kargil martyr's daughter Gurmehar Kaur?

By: || Updated: 01 Mar 2017 01:14 AM

Kaur launched the online campaign against the RSS student wing after the February 22 violence in Delhi University's Ramjas College. Photo: ABP News

NEW DELHI: A Delhi University student and daughter of an army Captain who died in the Kargil war had launched a social media campaign against the ABVP that went viral on social media in the wake of the violence in Ramjas College.

Gurmehar had posted a video last summer where she narrated, with placards, her journey from being a Pakistan/Muslim-hating daughter of a soldier martyred in Kargil to a vocal peacenik.

She had been targeted then too but it was nowhere near what she is facing now since launching a campaign last week against the ABVP after it forced Ramjas College to cancel an event and later attacked a students' protest march.

Borrowing the placard strategy from her video, Gurmehar took to the social media on Thursday with this post: "The brutal attack on innocent students by ABVP is very disturbing and should be stopped. It was not an attack on protesters but an attack on every notion of democracy.... The stones that you pelt hit our bodies, but fail to bruise our ideas.

"This profile picture is my way of protesting against the tyranny of fear. If you are a student in any Indian university, in any Indian state and you wish to protest against ABVP then take a similar selfie and make it your profile picture. Use the hashtag #StudentsAgainstABVP and copy paste this message along with it. It's time for every student of India to unite! Jai Hind! Jai Democracy!"

As her appeal went viral and students across the country changed their profile picture in a show of support, the counter-attack began. Before the weekend was through, the inevitable rape threats had been made.

Gurmehar also received patronising lessons from a minister and BJP supporters on how her father would have been disappointed with her for rendering his sacrifice vain by supporting "anti-nationals".

It prompted Gurmehar to clarify that she was not supporting "anti-nationals" but fighting for free speech and a safe academic space.



For four days, she engaged with some of her critics across social media platforms but the rape threats appeared to have unnerved her by Monday morning as it became evident that the trolls had the blessings of powerful people.

All of this was done in the name of nationalism.

Imagine the level of patriotism, or say nationalism, in a country where government was forced to demonetize currency to fight black money, Prime Minister had to fold hands to keep streets and people were made to discriminate among each other on the basis of race, language, colour and riches.

Why partiotism is displayed only against Pakistan and not on such issues.

We claim to love the country but during elections we don't care if votes are sought in the name of religion or polarisation is done on the basis of caste.

After this issue made national headlines, political parties jumped on the bandwagon.

Gurmehar also received patronising lessons from a minister and BJP supporters on how her father would have been disappointed with her for rendering his sacrifice vain by supporting "anti-nationals".

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attacked the BJP over the issue and said it had now become a party of "hooligans" and "criminals".

Union minister Kiren Rijiju later said his remark on who was "polluting" the mind of an army martyr's daughter was aimed at "the Leftists" and noted that she was free to express her views.

The young woman at the centre of the storm withdrew her protest against the ABVP after alleged rape threats and a virulent social media backlash.

"I'm withdrawing from the campaign. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I said what I had to say. I have been through a lot and this is all my 20 year self could take. To anyone questioning my courage and bravery...I've shown more than enough," she said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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