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 has in the past spoken about the increasing attacks 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,” Kashyap 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 the ABVP following violence between members of unions AISA and ABVP workers in Delhi University’s Ramjas College.
One of hers posts also said: “Pakistan did not kill my father. War killed him.”
Bollywood veteran Anupam Kher said parties were fuelling the controversy to gain political mileage out of it.
Talking to media, the 61-year-old said, “Whatever the daughter of army officer said means that nobody wants war. Every soldier is here to protect our country at the border.”
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan declined to comment on the controversy. “What I feel about the situation is completely my personal opinion. But if I disclose, it will become public,” the 73-year-old said.
Director 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 withdrew from her social media campaign on Tuesday, after allegedly receiving rape 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.”
Yes ! 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.— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) March 1, 2017
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.”
Govt's reaction to college students' peaceful protest is natural. It's the fear of the unknown. Most of them have never been to college.— Shirish Kunder (@ShirishKunder) February 28, 2017
Actress Swara Bhaskar said violence in the name of ‘nationalism’ is not justified in any situation.
“As a student of Delhi University and JNU, I just want to say in one clear term that in any given situation, violence is not justified,” she said.
“You can give explanation in any form by terming it as nationalism or as any emotion, but the fact is raising hands on someone due to any controversy or protest is wrong. If any group has any problem, they should sort it out by talking,” she added.
Expressing her anger, the actress said violence is being witnessed over and over again in our country, which not acceptable by the society.
Clashes erupted last week after the ABVP students allegedly manhandled and thrashed students protesting the cancellation of an event at Ramjas College at which controversial JNU student Umar Khalid was scheduled to speak.
The ABVP will tomorrow be organising a peaceful demonstration in order to restore peace on the campus and to call for exclusion of the Left wing.
(With agency inputs)