External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj gave back in kind to the trolls who took to social media to call her names following the proceedings in the passport row involving an interfaith couple in Lucknow.
Swaraj, who was not present in India at the time when the incident made headlines, was bombarded with a barrage of insensitive remarks by a section which was offended with the transfer of the passport officer at the centre of the row.
People took to Twitter to criticise, mock, abuse and even threaten the Minister for the decision taken in the Lucknow incident.
On 20 June, couple Mohammad Anas Siddiqui and Tanvi Seth had alleged that a passport officer posted in the Regional Passport Office in Lucknow asked Anas to convert to Hinduism and pulled up the wife for not changing her name after marriage.
The passport officer, Vikas Mishra, was transferred to Gorakhpur and the couple were issued the passports on Thursday, 21 June.
Mishra later denied the allegations saying he didn’t ask Anas to convert. He said he only followed the procedure and that Tanvi had a different name in her ‘nikahnama’ (wedding certificate), compared to that in her other documents, which was why he had asked for more proof.
Swaraj, who returned from her four-nation tour of Europe on 24 June, posted a message from her official Twitter handle in which she smartly called out those who trolled her.
“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,” wrote 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.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) June 24, 2018
At the time of writing, the Union Minister’s Twitter account revealed that she had ‘liked’ 70 tweets – all of them criticising her for Mishra’s transfer. Some of them even referred to the kidney transplant the Minister underwent in 2016.
I have to dig out the tweet where I had written one of the top women whom I admire is @SushmaSwaraj ..no not any more …she is worst…no admiration any more for her..afyer kidney failure she survived for spoiling India ..?
— Raji (@raji7373) June 23, 2018
I also demand that Visa Mata @SushmaSwaraj should resign not just from the post, but from politics and should relocate to Himalayas and never come back, ever.
— Sidha-Saada-Patel (@SidhaSaadaPatel) June 21, 2018
Mrs.Siddiqui started deleting her tweets. Secular @SushmaSwaraj should be removed from cabinet & order an enquiry (CBI, NIA) on the visas/passports she had issued on her Twitter TL so far just for some publicity.@PMOIndia @narendramodi
— ఎర్రవెల్లి ఫార్మ్ హౌస్ (#BulletProof) (@d_SHADOWofDEATH) June 21, 2018
Earlier @SushmaSwaraj was acting as Visa Mata for Pakistanis and now she had evolved to Passport Mata for the Muslim community instead of backing her officers who are just following the process in order to appear secular. Media help such manipulative people to create fake news
— BP (@Bharatp1) June 21, 2018
@SushmaSwaraj :Oho! Meri pyaari Tanvi beti. Don’t worry. Here is ur passport delivered to u within 24h out of turn.We are transferring that PO too.
V Mishra :Mam what did I do?I just asked for an affidavit as per rules.
SS : Chup! Secular keeda kaata merko. Behas na kar mujhse. pic.twitter.com/XyV5eQZYR2
— Arjun Saini (@imarjun_25) June 21, 2018
It seems Sushma ji wants to join congress so she is proving more sickular than pappus and pidis.
Shame on her for favouring muslims.
Shame on her for granting visas to Pakis.
Shame on her for subverting laws.
— Sheldon’s Cat (@JangleeBilla) June 23, 2018
@SushmaSwaraj जी ये हिंदू सरकारी पासपोर्ट ऑफिसर भी अपनी और अपने परिवार की सुरक्षा के लिए चिंतित है
क्या ये और इसका परिवार मुस्लिम नाम रख कर बोलेगा तभी आप सुनेंगी
— gopal sharma (@sharmagopal99) June 24, 2018
मदरसा में पढोगे तो यही होगा।ततकाल पासपोर्ट में पहले पासपोर्ट मिलता है फिर वेरिफिकेशन होता है।
— Rajesh Kumar (@rajworship) June 23, 2018
हे प्रभु देश की रक्षा मंत्री सुषमा जी नहीं है
नहीं तो मुस्लिम आतंकी ट्वीट कर के अपने लिए सुरक्षित मार्ग की मांग कर डालते!
— R.K.Dubey🇮🇳 (@RKDubey7878) June 23, 2018
Welcome to Delhi @SushmaSwaraj ji.
Can we expect a tweet that #VikasMishra ‘s transfer is revoked ? INNOCENT Passport officer Vikas Mishra should get justice.
Hope my tweet is also answered with the same enthusiasm as
Sadiya Siddiqui / Tanvi Seth’s tweet was @MEAIndia@MEAQuery https://t.co/6wLzW13IVX
— Barkha Trehan (@trehan_barkha) June 24, 2018
Even the Congress came out in support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and condemned the criticism that was being hurled at the 66-year-old Minister.
“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,” a tweet posted from the official account of the Congress read.
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://t.co/qcB0qemRGZ
— Congress (@INCIndia) June 24, 2018
Besides Twitter, trolls had also targeted Swaraj on Facebook.
The ratings of the EAM’s official Facebook page tumbled as thousands flooded it with 1-star reviews in the last few days. The total rating points of Swaraj’s page came down to 3.8 stars from 4.3 stars out of a maximum 5 forcing the administrator to turn off the review option on the page.