Bollywood celebrities Anurag Kashyap, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Vidya Balan have come out in support of Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur, saying she has the right to express her opinion and should not be trolled for it.
Kashyap, who in the past has spoken about the increasing attack on creative freedom, said social media is being used to create polarisation. “Isn’t it so obvious... picking on a silent video from two years ago, the Padmavati incident, the Ramjas incident, Tarek Fateh incident, all else that’s going wild on Twitter and Facebook is being used to create polarization, so that the elections have a desired result by those in control,” he wrote on Facebook.
The filmmaker said by reacting, “we are all participating in it and perpetuating it. That’s why I have been away for sometime and have come back to put this thought out there so one thinks about it... They are also using our reactions and provoking us because it helps their cause.. and we are giving it to them.”
Lady Sri Ram College student Gurmehar, daughter of army martyr Captain Mandeep Singh, had launched a viral social media campaign against Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) following violence between members of unions AISA and ABVP workers in Delhi University’s Ramjas College.
Dhulia said the fact that an innocent student is being targeted makes him sad. “She is an innocent girl, she said something and it’s sad all the prominent people are commenting on that. They have made her life difficult. I feel very bad, helpless. If the majority thinks like this I don’t think the nation is moving on the right path,” he said.
Urging people to respect other’s freedom of expression, Vidya said, “I don’t want to say much about this. I think what we really need to do is respect people’s freedom of expression. ‘He said something she said something’, all are right in their place. But I don’t want to add anything more, everyone has the right to express what they feel.”
Gurmehar yesterday withdrew from her social media campaign, after allegedly receiving threats from the members of the RSS-backed outfit and getting trolled online.
Commenting on the controversy, music composer Vishal Dadlani said, “I’m a nationalist but goons of ABVP & BJP will NOT define my nationalism. I am answerable to my country, not to any goondas. Jai Hind.”
He also posted a photo that read, “Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”
Filmmaker Shirish Kunder slammed the incident on Twitter saying, “A student silently protests against violence. The entire Establishment gangs up against her. Shows the power of two S’s: Silence & Students.”