Soon after violence broke out between members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and All India Students Association, a campaign #StudentsagainstABVP has gone viral. The campaign appears to have been started by Lady Shri Ram College student Gurmehar Kaur, who is the daughter of an Army captain killed during the Kargil war.
Reports of violence by the ABVP had also gone viral earlier this week, along with news of the Delhi Police allegedly turning a blind eye to the student group’s activities. The violence had begun after the ABVP demanded Ramjas College cancel a speech that was to be given by Jawaharlal Nehru Student Umar Khalid. Khalid was arrested in 2016 for being part of a protest against the hanging of Parliament attacks convict Afzal Guru.
Gurmehar Kaur had changed her profile picture on Facebook to one of her holding a placard that says: I am a student from Delhi University. I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me. #StudentsagainstABVP
The campaign has gone viral now, with college students across India changing their profile pictures and sharing the images on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Gurmehar Kaur told The Times of India, “After I came to know that even people who I knew were attacked at the protest, physically assaulted and given rape and death threats, it hit me how horrible the condition is. There is only one way of protesting that I know: it is through technology and media. This, for me, is a people’s movement.”
Last year, the student had made waves after she shared a silent video on Facebook, asking India and Pakistan to end state-sponsored conflict. In the video she says, “I also remember how much I used to hate Pakistan and Pakistanis because they killed my dad. I used to hate Muslims too because I thought all Muslims are Pakistanis.” She adds, “If there was no war between us, my father would still be here.”