Don't call me a martyr's daughter if it bothers you: Gurmehar Kaur

Gurmehar Kaur hits back at critics, says no to hooliganism on campuses in name of nationalism

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Don't call me a martyr's daughter if it bothers you: Gurmehar Kaur
Kiren Rijiju-Gurmehar Kaur

Undeterred by rants on social media which included taunts from celebrities such as former cricketer Virender Sehwag, Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda and even Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, 20-year-old Gurmehar Kaur hit back and stood her ground against hooliganism in college campuses in the name of nationalism. Pratap Sinha, a BJP MP, also went to the extent of comparing her with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

"Don't call me a Martyr's daughter if that bothers you. I never claimed to be anything otherwise. You can call me Gurmehar," the second year student of Delhi University's Lady Shriram College tweeted to her trolls on social media on Monday.

Daughter of a Kargil war hero, Kaur has been facing hate speech — including rape threats — after she launched an online campaign against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), BJP's student group, for its alleged role in the violence that took place at Delhi University's Ramjas College last week. For this, she was lauded by some, while others questioned her intentions.

Kiren Rijiju was in the latter camp. The Union Minister triggered a fresh row on Monday when he took to Twitter hinting that Kaur's campaign was being influenced by political rivals. "Who's polluting this young girl's mind? A strong Arm Force prevents a war. India never attacked anyone but a weak India was always invaded," he tweeted referring to last year's post of Kaur, holding a placard saying "Pakistan did not kill my father, War did."

Reacting to Rijiju's tweet, Kaur said, "It's really unfortunate they think that a 20-year-old cannot think on her own".

Kaur's tweet snowballed into a political controversy with even Congress president Rahul Gandhi taking time out from electioneering and joining the bandwagon by tweeting in her support. "Against the tyranny of fear we stand with our students. For every voice raised in anger, intolerance &ignorance there will be a Gurmehar Kaur," Rahul tweeted.

Kaur too remained on the aggressive. Speaking to the media she said, "Some very famous people are questioning my nationalism and calling me an anti-national. They themselves don't understand patriotism. Our movement is not about politics or political parties. It is about students and to make campuses safer for students. It is against hooliganism and rape threats."

She also urged DU students to come out in large numbers and make Tuesday's march against "hooliganism and violence" a success. The Left-backed All India Students' Association (AISA) has called for a march on Tuesday against the ABVP's alleged hand in violence in Ramjas College last week which left several students, teachers, and scribes injured. Umar Khalid is also expected to attend the protest march.

Earlier in the day on Monday, Kaur had also filed a complaint with Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Swati Maliwal alleging that she had been threatened with rape on social media. According to the DCW chief, "In her complaint, Kaur has shown us screenshots where some men were after her and threatening her with rape on social media."

Taking cognizance of her complaint, DCW wrote to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi Special Commissioner to Police Sanjay Beniwal demanding immediate action against the persons who have threatened Kaur online.

The DCW's efforts led to Delhi police announcing round-the-clock security to Kaur.

"Presently DCW Home Guards providing protection to Gurmeher Kaur. We will be with her 24*7. Hope Delhi Police urgently gives her protection," DCW chief Swati Maliwal tweeted.

The controversy all stems from a social media post that Kaur had Tweeted on Thursday. In it she wrote: "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."

After Kaur's post, hundreds of students from several universities including DU, JNU, Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University among others had changed their Facebook profile pictures the similar placards.

The post came following the clashes at Ramjas college on February 23 after the cancellation of an invitation to Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid, after ABVP objected to the invite. Khalid was accused of sedition last year for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at JNU campus.

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