Govt faces questions over the ‘trolling’ of Sushma Swaraj in LS

Trinamool Congress MP Prasun Banerjee today raised the issue of the recent ‘trolling’ of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in Parliament.

Over the last several days, Swaraj has come under attack on social media after she took disciplinary action against an official of the Lucknow Regional Passport Office for allegedly denying passports to a Hindu-Muslim couple on flimsy grounds.

Attackers had targeted Swaraj, making caricatures and ascribing nicknames to her.

In a written question, Banerjee asked the government whether it has “conducted any inquiry” into the widely reported incident so far.

Replying to Banerjee’s question, minister of state for home affairs Hansraj Ahir gave the following written reply in Lok Sabha today:

“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.”

The attacks came to light when Swaraj herself highlighted some of the ‘trolling messages’ targeted at her.

Due to the anonymity provided by Twitter and relative ease of creating multiple accounts, the platform is believed to be widely misused by political parties to target their rivals through sophisticated attack mechanisms using hundreds or even thousands of fake accounts.

Twitter has been purging accounts engaging in suspicious behavior in the last several weeks, locking hundreds of thousands of accounts so far.