The Centre on Tuesday evaded specifying if it has initiated an inquiry into the online trolling of Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, PTI reported. Trinamool Congress MP Prasun Banerjee had submitted a written question in the Lok Sabha asking the Centre if it had started an investigation into the posting of abusive messages against Swaraj on social media platforms.
Banerjee also asked if the standard protocol was followed in the matter.
Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir answered the query, through a written reply, stating that investigations into such cases are ordered after a complaint is received. “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,” Ahir said.
In June, Swaraj was trolled on Twitter after a regional passport officer in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow was transferred for allegedly harassing an inter-faith couple. Several Twitter users took umbrage at the minister for instructing the passport office to act against the accused officer. Her Cabinet colleagues Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh supported her and said it was unfortunate that Swaraj had received abusive messages. Many of the social media platform’s users have linked the abusive trolling on social media to supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Swaraj conducted a Twitter poll, asking whether users approve of such tweets. As many as 43% of those who took the poll said they approved of the abusive tweets. Swaraj had tweeted: “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 of the tweets and even said she felt “honoured” that a few Twitter users had targeted her over the controversy.