Govt smells 'anti-nationalism' in martyr daughter's FB post

BJP MP compares Gurmehar Kaur with Dawood for her campaign against violence Rijiju says 'polluted' mind Cong rushes to her defence
Report by: 
Agencies
NEW DELHI
27 Feb 2017

Opposition parties rushed to the defence of a Kargil martyr's daughter after she came under harsh criticism today from BJP members for her campaign against violence in the name of nationalism.

One BJP MP, Pratap Simha of Karnataka, compared Gurmehar Kaur to wanted gangster Dawood Ibrahim, while Union minister Kiren Rijiju suggested her mind was "polluted". One person, on Facebook, threatened to rape her. "You may not like what the person thinks but...mindless threats, trolling emanating from people whom the Prime Minister of India follows (sic). This is the worst form of state intimidation and this is not how democracies and democratic countries function," said Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari. The 24-year-old Kaur's social media campaign, promoting free speech and condemning violence in the name of nationalism, has also won her massive support and caught the imagination of many young people.

Reacting to the BJP MP's remarks against her, he said: "Such a gentleman certainly does not deserve to be in Parliament. "Someone who has no respect for the families of martyrs...
for the pain of a young lady who grew up without a father because her father laid down his life to protect the unity and integrity of the country... Such a gentleman definitely has no right to sit in the highest seat of Indian democracy." Tewari said that unfortunately, this is an ethos which has become intrinsic to the BJP because it flows from the top. "When you have the Prime Minister of India referring to the media as 'bazaaru', ministers referring journalists as 'presstitutes', front organisations of the RSS and BJP perpetrating violence then obviously their MPs also feel that possibly by insulting the family members of Kargil martyrs, they may also find a place in Modi's Cabinet," he said.

On Rijiju's remarks, Tewari said: "This is an example of fascist culture. She is just not anybody. She is the daughter of a Kargil martyr. Her family understands the meaning of sacrifice. If she condemns violence and you treat her like that... it is a perfect example of fascist mindset."In her campaign, Kaur has blasted the ABVP, the RSS-aligned students wing, for instigating violence at New Delhi's Ramjas College last week. "The brutal attack on innocent students by ABVP is very disturbing and should be stopped. It was not an attack on protesters, but an attack on every notion of democracy that is held dear in every Indian's heart. "It is an attack on ideals, morals, freedom and rights of every person born to this nation," Kaur said in a Facebook status. Taking on the Delhi University student, the BJP MP tweeted, "At least Dawood did not use the crutches of his father's name to justify his anti-national stand." To mock her, Simha also posted a photograph showing Dawood with the message, "I didn't kill people in 1993. Bombs killed them." Rijiju also took to Twitter to take a dig at her. "Who's polluting this young girl's mind? Strong armed forces prevent a war. India never attacked anyone but a weak India was always invaded," the minister of state for home affairs said.

Talking to newspersons, Rijiju later said: "One should not say things which could demoralise the countrymen and the forces. Everybody has freedom but that does not mean that you raise slogans to weaken the country." In a related development, minister of state in Prime Minister's Office (MoS PMO) Jitendra Singh today said the country will not allow premium on anti-India activism and there is a need for drawing a bottom line to check such activities. The minister was responding to questions regarding ongoing row over the clashes between students unions -- Left-affiliated AISA and the RSS-backed ABVP -- in Delhi University's (DU) North Campus.

"Message should go out loud and clear that India will not allow premium on anti-India activism. Even the most liberated democracies of the world including the US and UK have drawn bottom line for it. "Freedom of debate doesn't allow debating to instigate anti-India activism and there is a need to draw a bottom line on it," said the minister of state in Prime Minister's Office (PMO).