South Asian Insider
Sushma Swaraj trolling: Centre avoids direct reply on investigation
The Union government on July 24 avoided a direct reply on whether an inquiry was conducted into the recent trolling of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on social media, saying in such cases, an investigation is ordered on receipt of a complaint.
Trinamool Congress MP Prasun Banerjee had submitted a written question in the Lok Sabha on whether the government had conducted any inquiry into the trolling of Ms. Swaraj and if it had, whether the standard protocol was followed.
In a written reply, Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said, “On receipt of complaints from affected persons, law enforcement agencies require social media platforms to remove such content or block them from viewing and take up investigation and other action as per law against the culprits.”
Ms. Swaraj was recently targeted by trolls on social media platforms, following the transfer of Passport Seva Kendra official in Lucknow Vikas Mishra for allegedly humiliating an inter-faith couple.
Mr. Mishra was transferred from Lucknow to Gorakhpur after the couple alleged that he humiliated them when they went to his office with their passport applications.
Sushma's poll on Twitter
When the controversy broke out, Ms. Swaraj was on an official visit to France, Belgium and Luxembourg. Subsequently, she had conducted a poll on Twitter, asking those on the site whether they “approve” of such trolling, to which 57% espondents had said they opposed it, while 43% stood by the trolls. “In a democracy, difference of opinion is but natural. Please do criticise but not in foul language. Criticism in decent language is always more effective,” the Minister had tweeted.
While Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said the trolling of Ms. Swaraj was wrong, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari described the way she was trolled and the kind of propaganda that was being spread against her as “very unfortunate”. Another Ministerial colleague of Ms. Swaraj, Ram Vilas Paswan, tweeted, “I strongly condemn the shameful trolling campaign against Smt Shushma Swaraj Ji. She is a very senior Parliamentarian and we must respect each other (sic).” BJP general secretary Ram Madhav had also written an article in a newspaper in Ms. Swaraj’s support.
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