A Delhi University student, who has launched a social media campaign against right-wing students’ organisation ABVP, said on Monday that she was heartbroken over the raging controversy triggered by her stand.
Gurmehar Kaur also said she was not acting under anybody’s influence, apparently responding to junior home minister Kiren Rijiju’s tweet asking who was “polluting her mind”.
“I have my own mind. Nobody is polluting my mind. I am not anti-national,” news agency ANI quoted Kaur as saying.
A student of the Lady Shri Ram College, Kaur has reignited a debate on free speech after taking on the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is affiliated to the ruling BJP’s ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Kaur fits the right wing’s definition of being from a patriotic background. But her remarks went against the upsurge of nationalism witnessed of late in the country.
Kaur, whose father captain Mandeep Singh was killed in combat in militancy-hit Kashmir, has said she has been dubbed anti-national and threatened with rape for her campaign against the ABVP, which was linked to the recent violence at Delhi University’s Ramjas College.
Police said they were examining a letter received from the Delhi Commission for Women demanding security for the 20-year-old Kaur, who met the panel’s chief Swati Maliwal on Monday. Maliwal later said ‘DCW Home Guards’ were providing security to Kaur.
Kaur started the campaign “I am not afraid of ABVP” following the violence at Ramjas College where the ABVP clashed with the Left-leaning All India Student Association (AISA) last week.
Her campaign went viral and received massive support from students across universities. She also received the support of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, among others.
Kaur also faced criticism, with a BJP MP mocking her on Twitter and ex-cricketer Virender Sehwag apparently taking a stand against her. But Kaur insisted that she won’t be intimidated.
“I am not afraid because I am fighting for the right thing,” she said, adding she was getting numerous threats on phone and social media.
“It would be very nice if I get protection...Fear is not in my blood. My father took a bullet for the country and I am also ready to do that.”
“I am heartbroken...These are the people you yell for in matches and they troll you at the expense of your father’s death,” Kaur said, referring to Shewag’s tweet apparently mocking her post that said: “Pakistan did not kill my father. War killed him.”
Kaur had changed her Facebook profile after the violent clashes in the north campus with a picture of her holding a placard which read, “I am a student from Delhi University. I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me. #StudentsAgainstABVP”.