New Delhi: The political slugfest over Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur continued on Thursday, with several leaders taking sides in the nationalism vs free speech debate. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said nationalism is a good word and it is considered a bad word only in India.
"Nationalism is a good word, ye toh kewal iss desh mein hai ki rashtravad bura shabd hai," said Jaitley.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also jumped in to support student group ABVP, saying, “I support freedom of expression within legal restrictions.”
Left leader Sitaram Yechury retorted to Parrikar’s remarks, saying “What defines legal restrictions of the Defence Minister? His whims and fancies? Restrictions are defined by our constitution.”
The genesis of the ABVP-AISA clash was an invite to JNU student Umar Khalid, facing sedition charges, and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar at Ramjas College on 'Culture of Protests' which was withdrawn by the college authorities following opposition by the ABVP. This triggered clashes between ABVP and other opposing student groups.
There was also uproar in Haryana Assembly over BJP state minister Anil Vij’s remarks.
Haryana’s outspoken Minister Vij had on Wednesday said those who are supporting Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur for her campaign against the ABVP, were pro-Pakistan and should be thrown out of the country.
"It is very wrong and condemnable that Gurmehar has tried to do politics over her father's martyrdom," Vij, a five-time MLA, told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing state Assembly session.
He further said, "Pakistan ever since its inception has been fighting direct or proxy wars with India. And a martyr's daughter is giving clean chit to Pakistan, it is not appropriate. Such people have no right to live here and should be thrown out of the country."
Vij added that those who are supporting Gurmehar Kaur too are pro-Pakistan and should be thrown out of the country. The minister earlier tweeted, "People supporting #GurmeharKaur blaming war for her #Kargilmartyr father are Pro #Pakistan should be thrown out of #India."
Notably, 20-year-old Kaur landed in controversy after she launched a social media campaign against ABVP. She drew threats of rape, allegedly by ABVP activists, and was ridicule by a Union minister, a BJP MP and former cricketer Virender Sehwag....