“I’m withdrawing from the campaign. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I said what I had to say.. I have been through a lot and this is all my 20 year self could take :)” the 20 year old Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur tweeted this morning.

This does not mean she has backed off, it just means that this daughter of an Army officer who was killed in the Kargil operation, just cannot take the abuse, the vilification, the threats any longer. As any decent non-political Indian reacting against the violence unleashed by the ABVP against the students protesting peacefully at Ramjas college recently, Kaur was not prepared for the storm of abuse laced with rape threats.

And what is made it worse not just for her, but for Indian democracy, is the fact that the Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju instead of supporting the young girl and ensuring action against those intimidating her, turned into an intimidator himself. He wanted to know who was “polluting” her mind, in a tweet smacking of partisanship, to which the brave young student replied that no one was, as she had the ability to make up her own mind. Kaur lost her father when she was a child and life has not been that easy for her and her family Mr Rijiju. The Minister is also riled with Kaur’s earlier statement through a placard that her father was not killed by Pakistan, but by politics.

The BJP, exhibiting its doctrine of intolerance, came out with fists flaying a young student without shame. BJP MP Pratap Simha compared Kaur with Pakistan’s Dawood Ibrahim, as part of the usual campaign linking all citiens standing up for the values of Indian democracy with Pakistan and terrorism and deserves strong condemnation for the same. "At least Dawood did not use the crutches of his father's name to justify his anti-national stand”, said this MP in remarks that are totally obnoxious by any standards of human civility.

There has been widespread condemnation of the BJP response, that has targeted first the students protesting against the muscle power of the ABVP that made Ramjas college cancel a function as it was going to be addressed by former JNU student Umar Khalid, and then beat up those peacefully protesting against the same.

It is unfortunate and highly regrettable that instead of rushing to defend the democratic order, senior BJP leaders have joined the trolls and the ABVP cadres in attacking a young student, for standing up for her colleagues who were beaten and thrashed for doing little more than protesting. This kind of muscle politics supported by the government and the ruling party is not acceptable, with little to no effort being made to restore peace in the campus, and take action against those---along with teh Delhi police---who attacked the students, faculty members and journalists covering the event.

This tendency to not just cover up brutality but also justify it with aggressive statements from senior functionaries of the BJP and the government does not behove well for Indian democracy. As for cricketer Virendra Sehwag who is clearly looking now for a career in politics, the less said the better. He has not done his sport proud with a placard countering Kaur with, “I didn’t score two triple centuries, my bat did.” The young girl not knowing what was hitting her from all sides was “heartbroken” at this viciousness but countered it bravely.

Rape threats, abuse, vilification, questioning her as a dutiful daughter, the dirt with which the BJP and the ABVP and their supporters have tackled this issue, targeting a 20 year old student, is shameful to say the very least. It reflects an intolerant mindset of course, but also a new low in politics where dirt and filth is being condoned, and added to, by those who have sworn to protect India and her people. Shamefull and Sinister.