Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said that he talked to his Cabinet colleague Sushma Swaraj after she was trolled with abusive messages on Twitter last week, ThePrint reported on Monday.
“I called her soon after she first tweeted last week about the abuse she was facing,” Singh told the news website. “When we met, I also asked her what this was all about. I expressed my sympathy.”
Singh did not comment on why he did not express his support online or comment against the abuse on Twitter. He generally condemned the abusive trolling rampant on social media, News18 reported.
The home minister is reportedly the first person in the government to have spoken to Swaraj after the trolling. Several Twitter users have linked abusive trolling on social media to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party – including the abuse against Swaraj, apparently for “appeasing” Muslims.
In July 2017, Singh himself had faced abuse on social media after he tweeted that the spirit of “Kashmiriyat” was alive because the people of Kashmir had condemned a terror attack on pilgrims to Amarnath.
On Sunday, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said she was “horrified” at the “vicious trolling” faced by Swaraj. “Absolutely outrageous!” Mufti wrote on Twitter. “If our own Minister of External Affairs is not spared, what hope is there for any other woman?”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too tweeted in support of Swaraj on Monday and condemned the language used against the senior BJP leader. “We must respect each other and must never indulge in any form of verbal abuse,” she said.
A Twitter poll started by Sushma Swaraj, asking whether users approve of such tweets, has got as many as 43% votes saying they do. She wrote on Twitter: “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.”
On June 24, Sushma Swaraj had “liked” some abusive tweets against her after a regional passport officer in Lucknow was transferred for allegedly harassing an inter-faith couple. The posts were written while Swaraj was on a week-long visit to Europe, and after she returned, she said she felt “honoured” that a few Twitter users had targeted her over the controversy.
Swaraj has liked some more such tweets since then. Several users praised her for her reaction to the tweets.