I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me.”

NEW DELHI — A college student in India has attracted a series of debates on patriotism and free speech as a result of her social media posts, after students clashed on campus over a seminar on the nation’s conflict regions.

The 'Revolution' so to speak began with protests against an event at a New Delhi college by the powerful Hindu nationalist students group known as the All India Students Council. The said event  had featured a speaker whom they described as “anti-India” — a term increasingly in favour of the country’s right wing.

The All India Students Council, known in native dialect as the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has emerged as a vigilante force on Indian campuses, protesting against anybody who questions the army or speaks against its human rights violations in conflict zones or campaigns against capital punishment for convicted terrorists. According to them,such debates divide the country and harm patriotic sentiments.

 Since the rise to power of the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in 2014, the group has become increasingly assertive and activists believe that ABVP’s activities are part of a larger trend in India stifling voices that question the government or Hindu majoritarian rhetoric.

Just last week, a 20-year-old student by name Gurmehar Kaur decided to speak up against the ABVP in a Facebook post where she posted a picture of herself holding a placard which read: “I am a student from Delhi University. I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me.”

The placard also had a hashtag that read thus; #studentsagainstABVP, while on Twitter, she began posting with the hashtag #FightBackDU

By Rama Lakshmi
Washington Post
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