From DU violence to Gurmehar Kaur debate: All that happened and who said what

Gurmehar Kaur has been in news since the time her campaign against ABVP on Facebook saying "not afraid" went viral. The issue got bigger with each passing day till a point she has been tagged "anti-national" by many and "pure example of the courageous Indian youngster" for many.

What was Gurmehar's campaign about?

It all started from the attack on students and teachers at Delhi University's Ramjas College by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Gurmehar Kaur, a student of DU's Lady Shri Ram college and daughter of martyr Captain Mandeep Singh, posted a photo on Facebook.

 The photo had her holding a placard that 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". The post went viral and received more than 3,500 shares.

Gurmehar Kaur's journey to the "anti-national" label

Technically the argument, if at all there has to be one, should have been restricted to her opinion about ABVP and her campaign against the right-wing student body. But social media users went ahead and dug out screenshots of another campaign which Gurmehar was a part of in the past.

In this campaign, started by activist Ram Subramanian, Kaur is seen holding a placard that reads, "Pakistan did not kill my dad. War killed him". The concept behind this was to promote a better relationship with our neighbour and the video included other placards too. But to the convenience of many, the out of context placard worked and went viral.

Many social media users deemed Gurmehar anti-national because she wanted peaceful relationship with Pakistan, a country that instigated the Kargil war during which she lost her father, according to the claims made by Gurmehar in the said video. 

However, Captain Mandeep Singh was killed 10 days after the war.

How did the controversy begin?

Virender Sehwag, in an attempt to take a jibe at Gurmehar Kaur, tweeted a photo of himself holding a Photoshopped placard that read, "I didn't score two triple centuries, my bat did". He captioned the photo "bat me hai dum" along with a #BharatJaisiJagahNahi.

Virender Shewag #BharatJaisiJagahNahi.

Sehwag shared his opinion, but was called out by many people, including journalists, and was accused of bullying the girl and trying to silence her.

Actor Randeep Hooda ended up adding more fuel to the fire by cheering Sehwag. He retweeted the cricketer's tweet which garnered more than 3,000 retweets. Both of them received flak from social media users for "bullying" Gurmehar, though there were some who supported the two celebrities. Hooda later cleared his stance in a Facebook post.

Randeep Hooda #BharatJaisiJagahNahi.

Sehwag, later said "my tweet was an attempt to be facetious rather than one to bully anyone over their opinion. Agreement or disagreement wasn't even a factor".

The political twist

Things escalated when Gurmehar claimed that she had received rape threats. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, turning the issue political, tweeted saying he would meet the Lieutenant Governor Of Delhi to demand action against ABVP goondaism and against those who threatened Kaur with rape and death.

Arvind Kejriwal

Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home, initially said that "someone is definitely doing politics over this issue" of campus violence and asked "who is polluting this young girl's mind", possibly hinting at Arvind Kejriwal because of Kaur's association with the Aam Aadmi Party in the past.

However, he later clarified that he meant "leftists".

Kiren Rijiju

"Let her be. Don't disturb the girl. Let us not comment on her tweet. My message is to the far leftists to not pollute young minds. Let her be in herself and her world. She is being hijacked. Leftists are those who celebrate killing of our security forces and support China", the minister told India Today.

Rijiju's commentary did not end here he went on to say that the Captain's "soul must be weeping on seeing his daughter being misguided by those who celebrate the bodies of martyrs".

He justified his comment "she has the freedom to speak her mind. She has all the right to do whatever she wants. So don't disturb her" and tweeted saying "everyone has right of views but she said Pakistan didn't kill our brave martyr & India should shun war. India never perpetrated violence!".

Harayana Minister Anil Vij too entered argument by offering his 'highly insightful' opinion and said "those supporting Gurmehar Kaur are pro-Pakistan, therefore such people should be thrown out of the country".

Anil Vij

Nation before gender

Indian woman wrestlers Babita Phogat and Geeta Phogat joined Virender Sehwag and Randeep Hooda by criticisng 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 Phogat.

Her elder sister Geeta Phogat too supported Babita's views and said, "if you speak against nation, people will obviously not like it. Irrespective of gender, the person won't b spared."

Yogeshwar Dutt, Javed Akthar and more controversy

Olympian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt joined his colleagues Geeta and Babita by posting a meme on Twitter comparing Gurmehar to Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden and Salman Khan.

Responding to Virender Sehwag and Yogeshwar Dutt, poet, lyricist and former Rajya Sabha MP Javed Akthar tweeted, "If a hardly literate player or a wrestler troll a pacifist daughter of a martyr its understandable but whats wrong with some educated folks [sic]" and this irked many social media users.


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