Gurmehar row: Nationalism bad word only in this country, says Arun Jaitley

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Arun Jaitley

NEW DELHI: The ‘national vs. anti-national’ row continued to bubble today with finance minister Arun Jaitley weighing in to say “nationalism appears to be a bad word only in this country,” ANI reported.

“Nationalism is a good word, ye toh kewal iss desh mein hai ki rashtravad bura shabd hai,” Jaitley said today, ANI reported.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also jumped in to defend student group ABVP which last week allegedly instigated violence during a pro-freedom of speech march by students at Delhi University’s Ramjas College.

“I support freedom of expression within legal restrictions,” Parrikar said at an event today, according to ANI.

To which Left leader Sitaram Yechury retorted, according to ANI: “What defines legal restrictions of the Defence Minister? His whims and fancies? Restrictions are defined by our constitution.”

There was uproar today in the Haryana Assembly, too, over BJP state minister Anil Vij’s comment from yesterday.

“Those who support Gurmehar Kaur are all pro-Pakistan. Such people have no right to live in India and they should be thrown out of the country,” Vij told reporters, about a Delhi University student whose pro-peace social media post from last year is suddenly in the eye of the storm, after she wrote a post protesting the recent alleged ABVP violence.

Vij, today, didn’t back down or tune down his comments from yesterday.

“I fully stand by what I said, those opposing it in the assembly have no understanding, they are siding with anti-national forces,” Vij said.

In the meanwhile, reports are coming in this morning of heavy security deployed in Delhi University’s North Campus ahead of a protest scheduled today by the ABVP.