By Sagarneel Sinha
Online abuse is really becoming a disturbing trend in the country. This time it is none other than foreign minister Sushma Swaraj who became the victim of the online bad mouthing. For almost a week, she received trolls full of scurrilous languages. This trend is really upsetting. The issue started when a passport officer named Vikas Mishra allegedly harassed Tanvi Seth, for marrying a Muslim husband and not changing her name. As a result, the passport officer was transported and the couple too speedily got the transaction. However, this issue was viewed as a policy of Muslim appeasement from Sushma Swaraj by the hardline Hindutva users and they trolled her viciously. Though later, it emerged that Tanvi Seth’s marriage certificate bore a different name — Sadis Anas. The recent reports citing Foreign Ministry sources say that the “marriage certificate is not required for passport” and the passport official Vikas Mishra overstepped “bounds of duty”.
Whatever the case is, hate trolls targeting Sushma Swaraj or any other person is highly
condemnable. This is a very serious case because if the country’s foreign minister faces such insulting comments then one can easily imagine what a journalist, blogger, writer, social activist or a common man will face. If that was not enough, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Congress spokesperson case seems more dangerous. A user attributing to a fake tweet of her didn’t even hesitate to abuse her ten years old daughter. This is really horrible — verbal violence targeting a kid who doesn’t even know exactly the things happening around!
Much more worrying is the way the government remains silent on the issue of Sushma Swaraj, one of the most popular and successful cabinet ministers of the Modi government. Swaraj’s own party ruling BJP is surprisingly mum on the issue. Even the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is quiet, who otherwise is known for tweeting mostly on every issue. The two woman cabinet Ministers Smriti Irani and Nirmala Sitharaman are too maintaining tranquility, although two other senior cabinet ministers — Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari came out to support their colleague, Sushma Swaraj.
Actually, the BJP and the government’s silence is only strengthening those who are using abusive languages. Most of the trollers of Sushma Swaraj are the self-styled supporters of the BJP and its extended family and this is the reason the party is mum. But they are wrong because if today these supporters who abused Sushma Swaraj are endorsed, tomorrow the next target could be another one — even the Prime Minister Modi himself. Maintaining silence amounts to encourage them and this could turn detrimental for the party and the government. Already, the silence has tarnished the government’s good image.
Importantly, another most disturbing issue is the selective highlighting of the abusive trollers. If social media is observed, one would find haters belonging to every political and ideological groups. Even Prime Minister Modi himself continues to receive hate comments, mostly from hardline Islamist and the self styled “secular” users. So, if we highlight the cases of Sushma Swaraj and Priyanka Chaturvedi and on the other side remain quiet for the other cases — then this accounts to complete biasness and is good for nothing. That’s why it would be better to speak against all these abusers whether belonging to the right wing ideology — both the hardline Hindutva and the Islamist or the hardline left wing or secular users who every now and then are engaged in spreading venom in the social media. So, it’s high time that both the ideologically and politically divided lawmakers and the civil society of the country keeping all the ideological thinkings aside come together to tackle this situation.