NEW DELHI: In a rare – for politics, that is – instance of bipartisanship, the Congress party late yesterday tweeted out support for a BJP politician, and the recipient of the grand old party’s favourable tweet was none other than the indefatigable external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
The Congress yesterday took on trolls who targeted the BJP’s Swaraj over an incident to do with the alleged harassment of an interfaith couple in Lucknow + . The external affairs minister, who has just returned from an official trip overseas, was vilified on Twitter for the transfer of a Lucknow regional passport officer + who allegedly behaved in discriminatory fashion toward a Hindu-Muslim couple + .
Trolls called Swaraj, among other things, the possessor of an “Islamic kidney” and an “almost dead woman as she runs on only one kidney”.
The Congress party was not pleased – at all.
“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,” tweeted the Congress on its official Twitter handle.
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.https://twitter.com/sushmaswaraj/status/1010835030896070656?s=12 …Sushma Swaraj
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.
The “decision to call out the heinous trolls” that the Congress was referring to, is Swaraj’s decision to “like” some of these tweets, thus calling attention to them. That is, she savvily made sure that anyone who missed the abuses heaped on her was made aware that she was at the receiving end of trolls, and over what. All this without referring directly to the incident.
Or, as she put it in her tweet: ” 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.”
For those who came in late, what happened was that last week, a regional passport officer in Lucknow, Vikas Mishra, was in the eye of a storm for allegedly harassing a Hindu woman and her Muslim husband + on account the latter’s faith. The woman tweeted to Swaraj – who was on a state visit in Europe at the time – and the alleged incident came to the attention of the media.
The woman alleged that Mishra told her Muslim husband to convert to Hinduism+ if he wanted his passport renewed. He also allegedly told her “it is a duty for a woman to get her name changed after marriage”. (The woman retains her surname.)
Mishra, meanwhile, refuted the couple’s allegations saying he was just following procedure. The officer, who a day after the incident was transferred to Gorakhpur from Lucknow, said the woman had a different name in her ‘nikahnama’, or wedding certificate, compared with her other documents, which is why he asked for more proof. He also denied saying “it is a duty for a woman to get her name changed after marriage”.
Many on Twitter were unhappy about Mishra’s transfer over the incident and many called it “politics of appeasement” and “capitulation to minorities.”
Some called it a biased decision, tweeting, “…shame on you mam…is it effect of your Islamic kidney??”
EAM @SushmaSwaraj met with the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini @FedericaMog. Excellent discussions on maximising full potential of India – EU strategic partnership, including implementation of the decisions taken at the previous India-EU Summit in 2017. pic.twitter.com/Z6uSGXERLx
More references to her kidney followed; the minister had her kidney replaced in late 2016.
“She is almost dead woman as she runs on only one kidney (borrowed from some one else ) and any time that can stop working,” said another person.