After Virender Sehwag, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt expresses dismay at student Gurmehar Kaur on Twitter
After Virender Sehwag, Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt now expresses his opinion against Gurmehar Kaur.
The recent political climate in the country seems to be simmering and a metaphorical explosion is imminent. With each side having very strong opinions, a middle ground seems to be impossible to find.
The violence seen at Delhi’s Ramjas College is certainly proof of that and it is the reason why prominent members of society have taken to social media to express their opinion on student politics and the likes. After Virender Sehwag received a public backlash for trolling a Delhi University student, the latest sportsperson to join that list is Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt.
Gurmehar Kaur, a student of Delhi University and daughter of a deceased Kargil war hero, started an online campaign. In her tweet, she spoke out for what she believed was right and urged fellow students to raise their voice against the violence at the Ramjas University.
She started what turned out to be a viral campaign with thousands of students expressing support and dissent in similar ways. Following this, Gurmehar was immediately the target of a barrage of online trolling and threatening messages, some of which are too unsavoury to discuss.
Former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag exercised his right to freedom of expression by making it clear how ridiculous he found Gurmehar’s contention about war being the real evil and not Pakistan. Gurmehar’s claim in question was a part of a larger video released in April 2016 where she talked about how she hated Muslims and Pakistan as a young girl, dealing with the recent death of her father.
Nevertheless, Sehwag and many others found it feasible to pick out a part of her message and subsequently parody it. If that was not enough, Yogeshwar Dutt has, today, indulged in the same thing.
The Finer Points
Immediately after Virender Sehwag tweeted out a joke that effectively belittled Gurmehar’s contention, he was widely applauded by the likes of Randeep Hooda and BJP Minister Vijay Goel who hailed him as a true icon for the youth.
Today Yogeshwar Dutt expressed his indirect support for the ideology that Sehwag stood for and expressed on Twitter yesterday. Dutt tweeted out a similar picture which similarly trivialises Gurmehar’s message with an accompanying emoji that effectively portrays how hilarious he finds the whole situation.
The wide reach that social media has is both a blessing and a bane. It might prove to be an effective platform for someone like Gurmehar Kaur to voice an opinion on but it can also lead to a backlash as is very evident in this case.
After she was opposed by political leaders and sportsmen alike, Kaur alleged to having received a number of rape and death threats with many people publicly calling her an embarrassment to her father’s sacrifice.
All of this took a toll on the student who then proceeded to announce that she would be backing out of the student campaign against campus violence in the wake of all the cyber bullying she was the subject of.
The right to freedom of expression is a very delicate one which can be abused very easily. While both Yogeshwar Dutt and Virender Sehwag may argue that they expressed their opinions on Twitter (which, of course, they are free to do), it would be wise to keep in mind that prominent members of the society have a bigger responsibility towards it than most ordinary citizens.
Whether it was done intentionally or not, their belittling responses definitely led to a backlash which quickly turned into an ugly instance of intense cyber-bullying of a student who also did nothing more than express her opinion. We hope this subsides soon.