Skip to main content

India's "sidelined" FM Sushma Swaraj at loggerheads with pro-Modi twitterati, blocks a few in "kneejerk" reaction

By Our Representative
Is India's "sidelined" foreign minister Sushma Swaraj at loggerheads with right-wing pro-Narendra Modi trolls, who make no stone unturned in attacking anyone criticizing the Prime Minister on the popular micro blogging site Twitter? It would seem so, if what is being termed as her recent "kneejerk responses" to some of the pro-Modi twitterati is any indication.
Pointing out that she has gone so far as to block some of these trolls, the well-known site altnews.com, known to be keeping a close watch on Twitter trends, says, this has happened ever since "India tightened its visa policy for Pakistani nationals... Many Pakistanis have approached Swaraj on Twitter for help with acquiring medical visa on humanitarian grounds."
"The fact that she has been equanimous and considerate in her approach has earned her the ire of many right-wing twitterati, terming her 'Medical Mata' and 'Visa Mata'. The recent treatment of Kulbhushan Jadav’s family by Pakistan further aggravated matters", an article by Sam Jawed, objecting to the minister's behaviour, says, even as quoting several instances.
Jawed says, "Her assistance to Pakistani citizens ... earned her the ire of her right wing supporters and made her a target of incessant trolling with tweets like, 'Those who promised to bring us ten heads in retaliation for one are distributing visas to our enemy state', 'You criticise or trash Medical Mata @SushmaSwaraj, you will be instantly blocked by her... even though she's a public offficer…'”
The "attackers" on Twitter have called Swaraj's "daily routine of tweeting medical visas" as becoming "embarrassing now", even as insisting that "her responses are usually in cases with good PR potential" having "no accountability", and there is "no good reason for her to be behaving like a consular officer."
One of those who has been blocked by Swaraj (Prasun Maitra@prasunmaitra) has tweeted, "I am proud to be blocked by a minister who seeks votes from secessionists in exchange of compromised foreign policy. She is a stigma on @narendramodi government". He even provides a screenshot of the blocking message from Twitter. And Namrata@_Namrataa tweets, "Achievement unlocked: Sushma ji blocked me thanks to people tagging her in replies perhaps".
A pro-Modi Twitter enthusiast, @namo_satya, complains, "Respected @PMOIndia @narendramodi ji, Ma'am Sushma Swaraj ji blocked me for no reason. If I require any help then to whom shall I contact? She is free to issue medical visa to Pakistanis but why to block Indian citizens?", adding, "This approach is not appreciable from External Affairs Minister of India."
Twitterati have variously said, "No processes, just minister's whims... They should open a medical visa department instead", "Is there any other external affairs minister in world who issues visas at Twitter? Modiji needs to give some real work to Sushma Swaraj", and "After three years in office, why isn’t she able to set up a system that works without the need of her intervention in every case? She appears to be more accessible to Pakistanis than their own government..."
Notes Jawed, "Swaraj runs a very popular Twitter handle with close to 11 million followers. Many people reach out to her via twitter. Lost a passport in a foreign country? Need to travel on an emergency? Need consular access on a holiday? Whatever the issue for Indian citizens abroad, Swaraj was always a click away, resolving problems with a warm, personal touch."
He adds, "Though her personal intervention in individual cases won her much acclaim, she also invited criticism from those who argued that her talent was severely underutilized in the ministry... Ironically many of those who are mocking Swaraj and have been blocked by her are staunch supporters of her own party, some even followed by Modi on Twitter."

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
This is the problem with our country today: do something good and be pulled down for it. Swaraj is the only minister who is really doing some work which puts the country in a good light: helping Pakistanis get medical treatment in our country--what better PR exercise can there be? Besides this, she has helped several Indians with consular problems or those who have been detained in foreign lands for various reasons.

I wish all those motormouths would keep quiet and learn something from her.

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

Lynching as state terror? Complete dearth of 'political will' to deal with mob violence

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Friday July 5, thousands of people had gathered at a rally in Surat to protest against the growing mob lynching incidents in different parts of the country. There are different interpretations at what happened during the rally: with police blaming the rallyists and those in the rally blaming the police for using teargas shells upon them without any reason.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

UN report notes 'suppression' of Kashmiri independence groups in Pakistan

By Our Representative
A top United Nations (UN) body has suggested that the intense fervour of Kashmiri nationalism isn’t just sweeping the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state but is equally strong in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), pointing towards how the Pak authorities have been seeking to suppress it by placing restrictions on rights to freedoms of expression and opinion, assembly and association on every section of PoK’s population.

Campaign 'victory': Bihar considers ban on asbestos, carcinogenic to humans

Counterview Desk
In a major victory for anti-asbestos campaigners, the Bihar government has said that it is considering an immediate ban on use of asbestos&based products of all kinds in the state. Speaking in the state assembly, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar insisted on the need to taking a strong policy decision against carcinogenic asbestos factories.
A communication, meanwhile, has been forwarded  to the health secretary by Kumar, referring to concerns of Dr Gopal Krishna, who heads the Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) "on hazardous asbestos factories to the health department." Krishna said that the health department should looking into the demand for the creation of a register of victims of asbestos related diseases.
He added, the government should also create a register asbestos laden buildings and products in general and a probe on the health status of workers, their families and communities linked to and in proximity of the two units of asbestos factories…

Satellite data 'identify' Gujarat's Mundra among 6 of India's top air pollution hotspots

By Rajiv Shah
A fresh study, which analyzes data between February 2018 and May 2019, obtained from Tropomi, a satellite instrument on board the Dutch Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, has warned that coal-fired power plants and industrial clusters are India’s “worst nitrogen oxides (NOx) hotspots” contributing hugely to air pollution in Sonbhadra-Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Talcher in Odisha, Chandrapur in Maharashtra, Mundra in Gujarat and Durgapur in West Bengal.