students rally after woman threatened with rape
Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Students rally after woman threatened with rape

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Students and teachers of Delhi University, JNU and Jamia
New Delhi - Arab today

Rallies were held in India’s capital on Tuesday in support of a student who received rape threats over her controversial remarks on Pakistan after being mocked online by celebrities, including cricketer Virender Sehwag.

Hundreds of students from several colleges in New Delhi took to the streets to protest against the threats and recent campus violence, amid an ongoing debate on nationalism and fears of the muzzling of freedom of speech under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

“My nationalism is beyond your claustrophobic nationalism,” read a placard at the rally, with protesters shouting slogans against the right-wing student group linked to Modi’s Hindu nationalist party.

The latest controversy was triggered after a 20-year-old student Gurmehar Kaur criticised the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) students’ union over its role in campus violence. This was followed by a video post which read: “Pakistan did not kill my dad, war killed him.”

Kaur’s father, a captain in the Indian army, was killed in an attack on a military camp near the de facto border with Pakistan in 1999.

But her olive branch approach to India’s nuclear-armed arch-rival led users to lampoon her, including celebrities such as Sehwag. He retorted with a Twitter post saying: “I didn’t score two triple centuries, my bat did.”

The post by Sehwag — one of India’s all-time leading run-scorers before he retired in 2015 — went viral on social media, with many trolling the 20-year-old student online and threatening her with physical violence.

“I have been getting a lot of threats on social media. I think it is very scary when people threaten you with violence and rape,” she told the NDTV network

Asked about how felt towards Sehwag, she replied: “Honestly, this just breaks your heart because these are people you grow up looking up to.”

Critics of Modi’s government say that nationalist sentiment has grown sharply during his premiership and authorities too often turn a blind eye when right-wing groups respond aggressively to any show of dissent.

The Hindustan Times said Tuesday that the threats against Kaur represented “an attack on the fundamental right to express an opinion which the likes of the ABVP and its backers do not find comfortable”.

“It has become the norm to intimidate students, writers, professors, filmmakers and journalists to name a few when they express an independent opinion in any medium,” it said in an editorial.

The ABVP on Tuesday accused “outsiders” of vandalism and anti-national propaganda and questioned the silence of the university’s Vice Chancellor over the issue.

“It was outsiders who disturbed the atmosphere of Delhi University campus,” DU Student Union General Secretary Ankit Sangwan of the ABVP said.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s students wing, ABVP, said that some miscreants were trying to create nuisance on the university campus through violence and by raising anti-national slogans.

Several opposition leaders on Tuesday joined a protest on the Delhi University campus and accused the government of politicising the issue and censoring students.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India leader D. Raja, Janata Dal-United leader K.C. Tyagi and Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav were among those present.

“The government has made the issue political by censoring students into submission and using police for its benefit. It is the government that politicised the issue,” Yechury said.

“Students should be allowed to express themselves. Politics is deciding everything for students today. Why should I not decide on my politics? You have to make your own choice,” the CPI-M leader said.

He said there should be debate and not violence.

Raja called for a fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre.

“What is BJP and ABVP? Ever since the BJP came to power (at the Centre), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has become the extra-constitutional ruler,” he said.

Kaur said she was withdrawing from the campaign and urged everyone to leave her alone.

“I’m withdrawing from the campaign. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I said what I had to say,” Kaur tweeted.

“I have been through a lot and this is all my 20 year self could take,” said the daughter of a slain army officer. “To anyone questioning my courage and bravery, I’ve shown more than enough.”

She did not join the protest march in the university.

“We are here to make the ABVP understand that DU stands together against violence,” student Hindolee Datta told said.

Gurpreet, a student of Ambedkar University, said: “Our right to protest has been taken away by the ABVP and RSS. This is not just about Delhi University but the whole nation.”

Also on Tuesday, members of the Congress-backed National Students Union of India staged a hunger strike in the campus against the ABVP.

A day after the Delhi Commission for Women wrote to police over the threats to Kaur, a FIR was registered on Tuesday under the IT Act and for sexual harassment and criminal intimidation

source : gulfnews

 

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students rally after woman threatened with rape students rally after woman threatened with rape

 



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