Lucknow passport case: In Congress’ defence of EAM Sushma Swaraj, a veiled jibe on ‘trolls’ of BJP

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Published: June 25, 2018 2:01:03 PM

The Congress on Sunday 'applauded' External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for her 'decision to call out the heinous trolls' of the BJP.

Swaraj, who was on a four-nation visit to Italy, France, Luxembourg and Brussels, faced heavy criticism from a section of her followers in the passport row of an interfaith couple.

The Congress on Sunday ‘applauded’ External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for her ‘decision to call out the heinous trolls’ of the BJP. Swaraj, who was on a four-nation visit to Italy, France, Luxembourg and Brussels, faced heavy criticism from a section of her followers in the passport row of an interfaith couple. Displeased by the Twitterati, Swaraj said that she was out for a foreign trip and doesn’t know what happened in her absence. She also ‘liked’ some of the tweets in order to call them out.

“I was out of India from 17th to 23rd June 2018. I do not know what happened in my absence. However, I am honoured with some tweets. I am sharing them with you. So I have liked them,” Swaraj said.

The Congress, on the other hand, took a jibe at the BJP while applauding Swaraj’s tweet. “No matter the situation or reason, nothing calls for threats of violence, disrespect & abuse. @SushmaSwaraj ji, we applaud your decision to call out the heinous trolls of your own party, (sic)” the party tweeted from its official Twitter handle. Notably, social media has become the battleground for all things political – with followers of the Congress and the BJP often going to lengths to criticise the policies and the leaders of opposing factions. This form of dissent, often unsavoury and personal in nature, has also found its way into the poilitical discourse of the top national parties.

In the current case, Sushma Swaraj came in for heavy criticism on Twitter when users were angered by the immediate shunting of Vikas Mishra, an officer at Lucknow’s passport office in the case of alleged harassment of an interfaith couple. The woman, Tanvi Seth, had alleged that Mishra asked her to change her name and religion in order to get a passport and lodged a complaint with Swaraj on Twitter.

The controversy took a new turn when Mishra claimed that the woman was asked to change her name on passport documents as she carries a different name on her Nikaahnama (the document of marriage in Islam). Mishra said that he asked Tanvi to get the name ‘Shadia Anas’ endorsed, as mentioned on her Nikahnama, reported ANI.

A number of journalists and leaders also called out some of the trolls who were hurling abuses at the EAM.

Senior Journalist Barkha Dutt termed the act as odious. “Dear @SushmaSwaraj it is odious what you have been subjected to. But Ma’am imagine if this happens to you, with all your authority and influence and as a superb minister, think what happens to the rest of us – especially independent and outspoken women who fight on regardless,” Dutt tweeted said.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh said that the attack on Sushma Swaraj was well orchestrated. “Now even Sushma Swaraj is not spared. She is trolled big time by the troll army! @SushmaSwaraj no guesses for who commands troll army,” Ashutosh tweeted. “The fault line between the BJP is exposed. The vitriolic attack on social media by the TROLL ARMY on @SushmaSwaraj is well orchestrated, every one knows who controls this army. This battle will be sharp as the 2019 elections get closer and master of the army fears losing, (sic)” he added.

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