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Randeep Hooda found himself amid a controversy when he mocked Gurmehar Kaur, daughter of an Indian Army martyr, for her statement, “Pakistan didn’t kill my father, war did.” The actor had appreciated a video posted by cricketer Virender Sehwag trolling the DU student. He was slammed by Twitter users, colleagues from the film industry and journalists. Randeep even said that Gurmehar was a political pawn, which invited further criticism. Giving a long explanation for his statements, Randeep said he was misunderstood for expressing his opinions. “(Calling Gurmehar a political pawn) It wasn’t gender specific. I was and I am against the politicisation of personal opinions. There was an axe to grind and considering the environment in the country vis-a-vis women, in hindsight, I do believe I should have been more careful. As an actor I have faced this (trolling) before and will have to face it in future too but for a young individual, to face this would be very traumatic and she shouldn’t have gone through this,” he told reporters here.
His statement has not cut any ice with Gurmehar who tweeted after Randeep’s statement, “I didn’t tweet my hands did”. It was her response to Sehwag’s post which was titled, “I didn’t score two triple centuries, my bat did.”
Randeep and Sehwag got criticised, particularly because Gurmehar was already at the receiving end of rape threats for her stand against ABVP. Delhi University’s Ramjas College saw members and supporters of ABVP and AISA clashing over an invite from JNU’s Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid for a cultural event. In the aftermath of the violence, Gurmehar made a Facebook post along with a photo of herself holding a placard saying “I am not afraid of ABVP”. While many praised her, she received a lot of flak, including rape threats.
Randeep, in his clarification, said he wasn’t aware of the threats but was wrongly accused of being party to the abusive behaviour Gurmehar was subjected to. “I was not aware of any threats to her. When I did become aware of it, I issued a statement clarifying my stand. And violence is wrong. If it is against a woman, it’s a heinous crime and perpetrators should be brought to justice and severe punishment should be given so that it sets an example. I don’t think that has happened. I don’t know what the authorities are doing. But by that time the narrative was set. I was labelled, put in a box. So, it seems to me we are not having a conversation.”
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The actor added that trolling is becoming a menace in the country and authorities on social media should take steps to control it.
“We tend to be abusive. We are trolling people. It is absolutely wrong. You can have a point of view and you can disagree. Whether it is a man or a woman it is wrong to troll and if it is a woman it is a crime. You cannot threaten a woman with violence on social media. That has to be addressed. Social media portal heads in India should look into it very seriously because it is becoming a bigger issue,” he said.