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53,000 Approved of Sushma Swaraj's Trolling on Twitter. What Does it Really Say About Our Mindset?

There are people out there who believe personally targeted hate messages are justified.

Raka Mukherjee |

Updated:July 2, 2018, 3:22 PM IST
53,000 Approved of Sushma Swaraj's Trolling on Twitter. What Does it Really Say About Our Mindset?
(News18 Creative: Mir Suhail)
After days of being trolled, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj initiated an online poll. She asked her followers if they thought the trolling was justified?

While a majority of 57% voted 'no', an overwhelming 43% of people voted 'yes'. This means over 53,000 people felt the horrid trolling that Swaraj faced over the transfer of Passport Seva Kendra official Vikas Mishra in Lucknow for allegedly humiliating an interfaith couple was pretty much justified.


One may argue that we shouldn't lose our faith since majority of the people who took part in the poll did not agree with the trolling. But it is appalling to know that so many people 'approved' of the sexist, violent language being used against the senior-most woman in government.

At a time when we are discussing women safety, how safe are women really in the online space? The trolling had started after a woman, Tanvi Seth, had reached out to the External Affairs minister on Twitter stating how a passport office employee had not approved of her application because she had a Muslim husband who’s surname she used, and it didn’t match her old passport.

Her husband alleged that he was asked to convert to ensure that their marriage was “accepted.”

Following news reports, the Minister of External Affairs handed them their passports and promised “appropriate action” against the official.

However, right after this, Mishra had held a press conference stating how he was “simply doing his job,” and was doing it more for legal procedure where he had to be “sure” about the names.

This led to a series of hate and backlash on Twitter for the minister ever since by trolls, some of them which are followed by BJP leadership, and have targeted Swaraj for reportedly trying to appease minorities.

However, this was not your usual ridiculing. These trolls went all ad-hominem and started targeting Swaraj for her personal life – including focusing on her health and kidney operation she had a year ago.

In the series of 19 Tweets that Swaraj had liked, to ask her views about, most were personally targeted hate,

Other than being extremely targeted personal attacks, all of the tweets were seeped with Islamophobia. The number of people who voted ‘Yes’ for the poll is shocking.

Although some came out in support of Swaraj, including her husband and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti among others.  The fact that 53,000 people think that the hate is well-deserved is to say the least, extremely frightening.

Swaraj’s husband responded to a tweet suggesting he should beat her up and tell her not to facilitate “minority appeasment”.

The Minister had clearly put out the poll hoping to get more support. But, it didn't quite work out like that.

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