Tennis legend Martina Navratilova who landed herself in a controversy after tweeting on the Jawaharlal Nehru University sedition row in India, has clarified that she just wanted to convey that violence and bullying solve nothing, and not pass judgement on India. The 18-time singles Grand Slam champion who is a close friend of Indian tennis player Leander Paes, posted a tweet on 22 February linking two New York Times articles critical of the Indian government and talking about the march in New Delhi by JNU students to protest against the arrest of their union leader who had been booked for sedition. This led to a number of people trolling and posting nasty comments on her profile.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, the 59-year-old, who was born in erstwhile Czechoslovakia during the cold war era, clarified her statements, saying: "Having grown up in a totalitarian regime in what was a communist country (then Czechoslovakia, now democratic Czech Republic), I am pretty well-versed with what it's like to live in an authoritarian, unfair system, where one is not at all free to speak one's mind without serious repercussions."
"Never did I presume to know the deeper story nor was I trying to tell the Indian people what to do in their own country. I merely suggested that violence and bullying don't solve anything. I also wanted to say that was true anywhere in the world, but couldn't fit that in thanks to the 140-character limit Twitter has.
"And I will keep speaking out when I feel there is unfairness, whether it is happening here in the US, or in Kenya, or in India. Because for me unfairness is at the root of what is wrong with our world, whether it's coming from the right or the left."
The JNU sedition row which started with a protest against the hanging of Afzal Guru, who was involved in an attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, has snowballed into a huge political controversy in India, with the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi being accused of suppressing free speech and dissent.