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Following the assault on students of Rajmas college, 20-year-old Gurmehar Kaur, daughter of a slain Kargil soldier, decided to post a photo on Facebook to send out a message to the ABVP. A student of Lady Shri Ram College, Kaur posted a photo of herself holding a placard. On it is written, “I am Student from Delhi University, I am not afraid of ABVP, I am not alone, every student in India is with me.” Others have taken the cue and have begun posting similar pictures to lodge their protest.
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Speaking to The Indian Express, Kaur said, “India is a secular and democratic country and freedom of speech is a fundamental right. My campaign is about fighting for these rights and what has happened in Ramjas…Some of my friends, were beaten up, threatened with rape, verbally abused.”
“I just want to make it clear that I took this stand for those who were beaten up in the name of nationalism. Yeh nationalism nahi hota hai. Nationalism woh hota hai — ki apne desh ki Constitution ki respect karna. Apne country mein youth ke liye stand lena. Apni awaaz uthana nationalism hota hai (This is not nationalism… Respecting the Constitution, standing up for the youth — that is nationalism)”.
Kaur has faced verbal backlash on Facebook, with many saying her father would not be happy with her supporting “anti-nationals”. She, however, said her father would have been very proud. “My father would’ve been more than proud of me. Just btw. 20 year old speaking up for the rights of her fellow students? VERY PROUD,” (sic) she tweeted. She added that she will continue with her protest.
Meanwhile, two online petitions — one addressed to the President, demanding freedom of expression in academic institutions and other addressed to the Delhi University proctor demanding action against ABVP and DUSU — have been gaining traction.