New Delhi: After drawing criticism over his remark as to who was polluting Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur's mind, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday said she was free to speak her mind and should be left alone as per her wish.
"When I say somebody (is polluting Gurmehar's mind), I mean the leftists," the Minister of State for Home said as he attacked those critical of him.
Rijiju said he stood by his earlier tweet on the issue and that he was only speaking his mind.
"It were these leftists who celebrated when the Indian Army personnel were martyred in the 1962 (India-China) war and raised anti-national slogans. But now, whoever makes anti-national statements will be dealt with firmly under the law. Everybody has the freedom of (speech and) expression but must act as per the laws of the country," he added.
On Gurmehar's reported decision to leave Delhi, the minister said Delhi is a safe city and there is nothing to fear.
"That's her choice. She should be protected and will be protected," he said.
On alleged rape threats to her, the minister said those who used intemperate language must be identified and punished.
Gurmehar, 20, has been in the eye of a political controversy ever since she criticised the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for the February 22 violence outside Ramjas College of Delhi University.
She had posted on social media a photo of hers with a placard reading: "I am a student from Delhi University. I am not afraid of ABVP."