Feeding the Trolls
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has had a busy week, claiming that Navjot Singh Sidhu hugging the Pakistan army chief was “demoralising” for soldiers, though it wasn’t specified whether she had asked any soldiers or was merely projecting. She then went on TV and ‘joked’ ghoulishly about Indian soldiers beheading Pakistani soldiers, but “not displaying” the spoils of war. Critics accused her of making irresponsible comments to impress social media trolls. She also claimed that winners of a students’ union election at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), part of a left wing alliance, were associating with “forces which are waging a war against India”. Should a country’s defence minister be accusing students, without evidence, of being part of a fifth column? Ironically, Sitharaman is (presumably) the proud owner of a master’s degree in economics from JNU, a high-quality institution that she is now traducing as a haven for so-called anti-national elements. Incidentally, the supporters of the left alliance allege that they were beaten up by workers of the losing right-wing students’ group, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Its members have also alleged they were victims of violence and called on the university administration and police to “comb” the campus for so-called Naxals. The newly elected union leaders have demanded an apology from Sitharaman. Perhaps she should give one, unless she can furnish proof of anti-national activity.