NEW DELHI: Poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar who had slammed cricketer Virender Sehwag over his tweet that appeared to mock Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur tweeted that ‘I take back my harsh words’.
“Since Sehwag undoubtedly a great player has clarified he was just being facetious is not anti Gurmehar I take back my rather harsh words,” Mr Akhtar tweeted on Thursday.
On March 2, Mr Akhtar had, in a tweet, criticised Virender Sehwag and Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt as a “hardly literate player or wrestler”, triggering a fresh controversy.
Hundreds rushed in to defend the sportsperson and slamming the author who was honoured with a Padma Shri in 1999.
Ms Kaur, the 20-year-old daughter of a soldier, was being trolled relentlessly and was threatened with rape after she posted a message protesting against the BJP-linked student body ABVP. Even an earlier Facebook post from her, that said her father had been killed by war and not Pakistan, drew vicious criticism.
Later, Mr Sehwag, in a series of tweets, had defended himself, claiming that his social media post in reply to Ms Kaur was an “attempt to be facetious” rather than one to bully anyone over their opinion, adding that agreement or disagreement was not even a factor.
Ms Kaur, 20, the daughter of army martyr Captain Mandeep Singh and a student of Lady Sri Ram College, had started the campaign following the violence at Ramjas College.
She withdrew from her social media campaign after allegedly receiving rape and death threats.
Mr Akhtar, however, praised cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who had said that the recent events have left him with a sense of disappointment.
Javed Akhtar ✔ @Javedakhtarjadu
My respect for Gautam Gambhir who with out any fear of trolls n right wing extremists has stood for Gurmehar ‘s freedom of expression.Bravo
8:59 PM – 2 Mar 2017
889 889 Retweets 2,694 2,694 likes
Ramjas college had recently witnessed large-scale violence between members of the AISA and the ABVP. The genesis of the clash was triggered by an invite extended to JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar on ‘Culture of Protests’, which was withdrawn by the college authorities following opposition by ABVP.