Gurmehar Kaur ‘free speech’ row: Indian students studying abroad change Facebook profile pictures to express solidarity

By: | Published: March 5, 2017 4:38 PM

Largely critical of RSS-affiliated ABVP, a large number of students changed their Facebook profile pictures.

gurmehar kaur, gurmehar kaur row, gurmehar kaur controversy, ramjas violence, delhi university protests, du violence, social media protests, abvp, abvp protests, india news, latest newsThe controversy erupted on February 21 over an invite to JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar which was withdrawn by Delhi’s Ramjas College following opposition by the ABVP.

The Delhi University violence which was followed by Gurmehar Kaur controversy once again sparked the debate over freedom of speech in the country. This time, the debate have reached the foreign shores as Indian students studying in USA, UK and across Europe, have come out in solidarity with the DU. Largely critical of RSS-affiliated ABVP, a large number of students changed their Facebook profile pictures. This step is being taken to show lend support to Gurmehar Kaur.

The support didn’t end here as many a series of events have been lined up across continents in top Universities like Columbia University, Durham University and the University of Trier in Germany. “In Solidarity with the students of Delhi University, who have bravely resisted the fascist forces at their gates, and their valiant teachers who, despite being dragged through the streets, beaten and bruised, stood their ground to protect the universal values of democracy. Separated by time and space, we could not be there when they were attacked. But history connects us,” says a joint statement put out by these students, mostly enrolled in MPhil and Masters courses.

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Debojit Thakur, a research scholar in University of Trier and one of the organisers, said the objective of these events was to stand behind those fighting “back home”. “We in our individual capacities as students, researchers and academicians and also as a collective of sorts want to reiterate that they are not alone in this struggle to reclaim academic spaces,” he said.

University staff and students actively took part in protests and clicked pictures with solidarity posters and messages. These pictures were posted on all the available social media platforms. Oxford Radical forum is also planning an even for radical ideas and Culture which they called a ‘festival’ and a similar event will be organised at Columbia University tomorrow.

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