"I am a student from Delhi University and I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me. #StudentsAgainstABVP."
This is a campaign that Gurmehar Kaur, daughter of Kargil martyr Captain Mandeep Singh, recently started on social media which soon became viral. What followed was a barrage of criticism and trolling, with many users labelling Gurmeher an anti-national.
But that was not all. Her old posts were dug out and she was massively trolled for them.
Last year, Gurmehar had posted a video where she held various placards to advocate peace between India and Pakistan. And one of the placards said- "Pakistan did not kill my father, war did."
Many users on social media selectively picked up this line and began trolling her. But it took a whole new turn when they were joined by celebrities Virender Sehwag and Randeep Hooda.
Taking a jibe at Gurmehar, Sehwag posted this picture on Twitter which was later lauded by actor Randeep Hooda.
Hooda went on to give it his stamp of approval.
Users soon pointed out that while it is okay for Sehwag to have opinions of his own, his downplaying the opinion of others - that too a 20-year-old student - given his vast social media influence, is surely not his best shot.
Sad, from you, Viru & Randeep, big-hearted stars. Nobody's patriotism needs certificates & hers has stamp of her father's supreme sacrifice https://t.co/6UAc98i2tH— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) February 26, 2017
To which Hooda replied by calling the DU student a "political pawn", making things only worse.
Gurmeher strongly objected to Hooda's labelling of her in that manner
A lot of Twitter users then went on to criticise both Hooda and Sehwag for their cyber-bullying of the 20-year-old and rightly so. After all, by mocking Gurmehar or calling her a "political pawn", these celebrities gave legitimacy to a growing trend that insists a difference of opinion to be dealt with threats, trolling and mocking.
"It is Sehwag's FOE to joke about-""But it is my FOE to criticize-""NO U R INFRINGING ON FOE""No, I'm not I'm ju-""YOU MORAL POLICE"— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) February 27, 2017
Sehwag taking a dig @ a 20-yr-old something girl who lost her father in a war is a new low. Trying too hard 2b in the good books of PM Modi?— Prerna Bakshi (@bprerna) February 26, 2017