Union sports minister VIjay Goel has jumped into the Gurmehar Kaur twitter row, defending the sportspersons who have come under fire on twitter.
Vijay Goel tweeted on Wednesday, in response to veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar’s tweet which read: “If a hardly literate player or a wrestler troll a pacifist daughter of a martyr it’s understandable but what’s wrong with some educated folks.”
It all began when Virender Sehwag, Yogeshwar Dutt, Geeta and Babita Phogat’s comments, that allegedly targeted Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur, drew angry reactions from many platforms. Leading their criticism was Javed Akhtar, who called them ‘hardly literate’.
“PLEASE DON’T CALL OUR PLAYERS ILLITERATE. You’re a champion in your field & they are champions in their own field. India is proud of them!(sic.),” Goel tweeted on Wednesday.
PLEASE DON'T CALL OUR PLAYERS ILLITERATE. You're a champion in your field & they are champions in their own field. India is proud of them! https://t.co/L3sq7sQp5X— Vijay Goel (@VijayGoelBJP) March 1, 2017
Earlier, Mahavir Singh Phogat, wrestling coach and father of Geeta and Babita, had responded angrily to Akhtar’s tweet.
Phogat, on whom the Aamir Khan-starrer movie Dangal was made, posted an emotional reply to Akhtar’s accusations.
“Yaha Umr bit gayi desh ko medal dilane mein, aur woh ek pal nahin lagate unpadh batane mein (Spent life-time winning medals for country, and they didn’t take a moment to call us illiterate),” Phogat wrote on Twitter, tagging Akhtar in the post.
Phogat’s daughters Geeta and Babita had also reacted on the controversy surrounding Gurmehar.
“Gurmehar Kaur’s view that her father was killed by war and not Pakistan was wrong for me. It’s against our nation and martyrs,” said Babita, a 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner.
Her elder sister Geeta, first Indian woman wrestler to win gold at Commonwealth Games, echoed Babita’s views. “If you speak against nation, people will obviously not like it. Irrespective of gender, the person won’t be spared,” she said.
Gurmehar, daughter of Captain Mandeep Singh who died fighting with militants in Kashmir, had posted a picture on her Facebook profile after the violent clashes in Delhi University’s north campus.
In the photo, she holds a placard which reads, “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”.
Earlier, Gurmehar posted an image in which she holds a placard saying: “Pakistan did not kill my dad, war did.”
It was this tweet that was allegedly targeted by sportspersons including Virender Sehwag and Yogeshwar Dutt.
Sehwag, who is known for his slapstick comments on Twitter, posted an image of him holding a placard, which read: “I didn’t two score triple centuries, my bat did.”
However, later Sehwag said his comments were not directed to Gurmehar. “My tweet wasn’t intended for Gurmehar. It was plain fun but people construed the other way,” Sehwag told India Today.
Even Jwala Gutta and Gautam Gambhir expressed her support for Gurmehar.
It's sad that when a person expresses her opinion about peace..people r emphasising on the word Pakistan and creating a ruckus 😒😒— Gutta Jwala (@Guttajwala) March 1, 2017
The freedom of expression is absolute and equal for all!— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) March 1, 2017
High time we learnt that and practised it daily in every sphere of life. pic.twitter.com/iMfIanQyh1