Delhi’s Lady Sriram College, or LSR, known for its illustrious alumnus Myanmar freedom fighter San Suu Kyi, has come to the defence of its student Gulmehar Kaur, a daughter of Kargil martyr who posed with a placard that said "War, not Pakistan Killed my Father."
The trolls against her including the country’s Home Minister (of State rank) Kiren Rijiju, who has repeated the faux pas similar to his senior minister Rajnath Singh, when he reacted exactly a year ago against anti-national slogans raised in JNU campus by outsiders and branded JNU students as "anti-nationals" and threatened them with police raids.
When ministers join social media and elctronic media, they should think twice before uttering a word as they are custodians of India’s Constitution and not mere BJP’s elected MPs or spokespersons. Though Rijuju was considerate in his troll wondering who is poisoning Gulmehar’s mind, his remarks were pointing out at Pakistan and the plot is to portray the entire episode as India vs Pakistan, which was not at all called for such a small incident. BJP ministers need to be more restrained like their leader.
In her reply to the country’s home minister of state who was supposed to ensure the safety of all the citizens, the battered girl said: "Nobody is polluting my mind. I am not anti-national." Certainly, fear has gripped her mind now. Her haste reaction saying she is not "anti-national" makes it clear that the girl has had enough from trolling from the Bollywood actor to Cricketer to Home minister of the country.
Virender Sehwag and Randeep Hooda trumpeted over their genius with countering posters and remarks on social media, but they can ejoice over their achievements now. Gulmehar’s retreat into safety haven and her decision to stop studying at LSR forever and return home. Now the trollers can be happy that they are not going to seen Gulmehar become another San Suu Kyi as India is different from Myanmar in terms of "toelrance".
But the support for their student came from the English department of Lady Shri Ram College, where Gurmehar Kaur is a first year student. It stated:
"We, the faculty members of the English Department, Lady Shri Ram College unequivocally and strongly support our student Gurmehar Kaur and her right to express her opinion on issues that embroil our university. It is immensely gratifying to us as her teachers that she has responded sensitively, creatively and bravely to events in her immediate context rather than seek the safe refuge of silence. We feel that it is the bounden duty of educational institutions to nurture sensitive, responsive and critical thinking students without the fear of violent retaliation. We are proud that Gurmehar has fulfilled her duty as a young citizen of this country. The threats of violence and brutality that she faces are absolutely reprehensible. Responses on social media by public figures such as Virender Sehwag and Randeep Hooda are shameful trivialization of the intimidation that Gurmehar faces at the hands of violent mobs whose viciousness the university has recently witnessed. We fervently appeal to the good sense of the public and to institutions of redressal to help restore our faith in law and justice in our country and let our young citizens think and articulate without fear of intimidation."
Signed by faculty members – Rita Joshi, Madhu Grover, Rukshana Shroff, ArtiMinocha, Maya Joshi, ShernazCama, Mitali Mishra, Arunima Ray, DiptiNath, Maitreyee Mandal, JanetLalawmpuii, Ngangom Maheshkanta Singh, Karuna Rajeev, Wafa Hamid, Jonathan Varghese, TaniyaSachdeva, and Rachita Mittal, the ball is in Gulmehar’s court to continue or discontinue her studies in LSR.
Here the curtains are down on hapless Gulmehar Kaur.