Indian badminton ace Jwala Gutta on Wednesday extended her support to Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur, who has been targeted by trolls on social media for her call for peace between India and Pakistan. Jwala, one of India's most experienced and successful doubles players, expressed her anguish at the way Gurmehar has been hounded on social media for her stance. She also lamented the fact that quite a few sportspersons had lashed out at the student 'without knowing the context of the message'.
"It is very important for sportspersons like us to speak out as we are messengers of peace. I have been to Pakistan to play tournaments. We need to see things more broadly than what it is. It is very important for us to speak out as millions of people are looking up to us," Jwala told NDTV.
"Social media is there to express yourself but the consequence is that I have had to face a lot of negativity and criticism. It is easy to be judgmental when you are on social media. Plus a lot of them have fake IDs; it becomes a source of entertainment for them. They want to create ruckus unnecessarily. They just take advantage because they know we can't do anything," she added.
Referring to Gurmehar, Jwala had tweeted that people were emphasising on the word 'Pakistan' and creating a ruckus.
It's sad that when a person expresses her opinion about peace..people r emphasising on the word Pakistan and creating a ruckus— Gutta Jwala (@Guttajwala) March 1, 2017
She also had a message for sportspersons who mocked Gurmehar for her views.
Sad to see sportspersons getting involved without knowing the context of the MESSAGE...that is PEACE!!!— Gutta Jwala (@Guttajwala) March 1, 2017
Later in the day, Jwala sent another tweet backing Gurmehar's anti-war stand.
Guys....the WAR killed her father!!! The WAR guys...WAR!!! War is bad...PEACE is good!!- Gutta Jwala (@Guttajwala) March 1, 2017
For any country any nationality!!
The issue snowballed after former India cricketer Virender Sehwag responded to Gurmehar's stand with a sly tweet that he later termed as 'facetious'.
The matter further escalated as wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt, Geeta Phogat and her sister Babita also got embroiled in the controversy, with the trio lashing out at Gurmehar for her views.